I really like granola bars, especially when they are filled with chocolate and cranberries/cherries. This recipe is great because it offers so many ways to alter it to your personal taste preferences… you can add whatever you want to these. When I told my dad that I was thinking of making these he asked me if I thought they’d really be that much better than something you can buy and if the work would be worth it……. the answer is that the work is absolutely worth it- these are the best granola bars I’ve ever had. And they are SO incredibly easy to make… and you can basically use whatever ingredients you have in your pantry. Sorry no picture! Adapted from www.smittenkitchen.com
1 2/3 cup of oats (like Quaker)
1/3 cup oat flour (Quaker oats in the food processor)
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 to 3 cups of filling ingredients (I used 3/4 cup walnut pieces, 3/4 cup dried cranberries, 1/3 cup coconut flakes, 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup peanut butter (or other kind of nut butter)
1/4 cup honey, light corn syrup, or maple syrup (I used a combination of honey and light corn syrup)
2 tablespoons light corn syrup (additional)
1 tablespoon water
Mix dry ingredients together, including nuts/fruit/chocolate in a large bowl.
Melt the butter in a bowl and add the peanut butter. Whisk together, until peanut butter melts into butter. Add the honey, corn syrup and water and whisk until smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix well, so that everything is evenly incorporated.
Pour into a 8x8inch pan with greased aluminum foil. Press the granola batter down into the edges, flattening it with your palms as you go.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes, give or take a few. The edges will be golden brown and the center will still seem mushy.
Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Remove the granola with the aluminum foil, then remove the aluminum foil and cut into squares. Eat immediately or wrap individually in cling wrap.
**NOTE** optional fillings: any kind of nut, dried fruit, chocolate, etc. in any combination.