Homemade Granola Bars (Makes 12 to 16 bars)
Copyright 2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten, Clarkson/Potter Publishers, All Rights Reserved
Photo: Quentin Bacon
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
½ cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup chopped pitted dates
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 x 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut 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 wheat germ.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees.
Place the butter, honey, 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 dates, apricots, and cranberries and stir well.
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 squares. Serve at room temperature.