And now for something actually good for you [grin]. Ok, so these granola bars so actually have chocolate chips in them (you can skip those if you like; add in more fruit) but on the whole they are pretty darn good for you. Wrap them in parchment paper or plastic wrap and they should stay good for a couple of weeks of lunches as the recipe makes 15 of them. Note that the recipe is versitile when it comes to the fruit and chocolate. On other words, if you like cranberries and dark chocolate chips, swap those in. Cherries and chocolate? Also good. Figs and cinnamon chips and add a bit of maple syrup? Great! Or go with the traditional raisins. Any which way, homemade granola bars are definitely the way to go!
2 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3/4 cup sunflower kernels, roasted
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup almond butter
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup dried apricots, cut to 1/4 inch or smaller pieces
3/4 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a foil sling for your 9 x 13 baking pan and spray with cooking spray.
Toss the oatmeal and almonds together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the toasted wheat germ and sunflower kernels.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300F.
Place the butter, honey, almond butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the chopped dried apricots and stir well. Let the mixture cool for about 15 minutes then stir in the chocolate chips. If you do this any earlier they will just completely melt, which you don’t want at this stage.
Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into rectangles or squares.