When I’m in the mood for a snack, I crave nutty, salty, and a little sweet. These chewy granola bars totally hit the spot. They take a little time to make, maybe an hour of actual labor, but this makes a whole pan, and they can keep for up to three weeks (if they manage to last that long in your house). In our house between my two year old and me, they’re gone in a week!
3/4 c walnuts
3/4 c cashews (you could omit these and use 1 1/2 c walnuts)
2 1/2 c old-fashioned rolled oats (do NOT use quick oats)
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds (you could omit these and use 1 c sunflower seeds)
1 c dried Turkish or Mediterranean apricots
1 c packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 c coconut oil
3 Tbs water
1 1/2 c Rice Krispies cereal
1 c dried cranberries (or dried blueberries, or both!)
Heat oven to 350 degrees and make sure oven rack is in the middle. Make a foil sling for a 13×9″ baking pan by folding 2 long sheets of foil; first sheet is 13″ wide and second sheet 9″ wide. Lay sheets of foil in pan perpendicular to each other, with extra foil hanging over the edges. Push the foil into the corners and smooth it all out. Lightly spray the foil with vegetable oil or smear coconut oil all over the bottom and sides.
Pulse the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped, 8-10 pulses. Spread nuts, oats, and seeds on a separate, large, rimmed baking sheet and toast until lightly browned and fragrant, 12-15 minutes, stirring halfway through toasting.
While the oat mixture toasts, process the apricots, sugar, and salt in the food processor until apricots are very finely ground, about 15 seconds. Add in the water and coconut oil, continuing to process until a homogenous paste forms, about 1 minute longer. Dump the paste into a large, wide bowl.
When the oats are done toasting, pour them into the bowl containing the apricot mixture and stir with a rubber spatula until well coated. Add cereal and cranberries and stir gently until everything is evenly mixed. Transfer mixture to prepared 9×13 baking pan and spread into an even layer. Place a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on top of the granola and press and smooth very firmly with your hands, especially at the edges and corners, until granola is level and compact.
Remove the parchment and bake the granola until fragrant and just beginning to brown around the edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool for 1 hour. Using the foil overhang, lift granola out of pan. Return to the wire rack and let cool completely for another hour.
Peel off and discard foil, transferring granola to a cutting board. Using a sharp chef’s knife, cut the granola in half crosswise to create two 6 1/2 by 9″ rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half to make four 3 1/4 by 9″ strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 6 equal pieces.
Store granola bars in an airtight container between sheets of parchment or waxed paper. As they disappear, transfer the bars to a smaller container to prevent them from drying out. Stored like this, they could theoretically keep for three weeks!
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