I had her bring everything in the recipe I didn't have on hand- things like nuts and "puffed rice cereal". Between planning a wedding and the upcoming trip, she was a very excited girl, so I assembled the ingredients while she talked a mile a minute. It was fun.
Homemade Granola Bars
3 cups rolled oats (old-fashioned or instant)
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup sesame seeds
2 generous cups puffed brown rice cereal
2 cups dried fruit, chopped (We used cranberries and raisins. She brought apricots as well, but we forgot to add them.)
1 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Spread first 4 ingredients on 2 baking pans and toast for about 15 minutes, or until you can smell the aromas from the toasted nuts. Keep an eye on them- we discovered these can burn quickly, especially on a dark cookie sheet.
When oat mixture is toasted, mix in the fruits and the rice cereal in a bowl.
Meanwhile, heat the honey, salt, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until ingredients are well combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
Add the mixture to the oats and mix well.
Spread the mixture evenly into 2 greased/buttered pans. How thick? Your choice. (We actually put them in one big pan, and forgot to grease the pan. Oops. It probably about an inch thick.)
Press firmly so that everything sticks together. (We didn't do this as well as we should have. This is important.)
Bake for about 20 minutes, until the granola turns golden.
When you take the granola out of the oven, only let it cool a little bit before you slice into bars. Wait until the bars are completely cool before you remove them from the pan. (We didn't wait for them to cool before removing the first couple from the pan. They fell apart. I put the whole pan in the fridge and cut the bars the next day, and they stuck together as they should.) Wrap bars individually with plastic wrap, and they should keep for at least two weeks.
This made A LOT of bars- probably close to twenty. They are delicious, and my sister is well stocked for her trip. Overall, they're a pretty healthy snack- just a little sugar and a little butter. Assembling them with my sister was fun, and good quality time. A bonus: I mentioned we forgot to grease the pan. Anything that stuck, I scraped off and put into a bag as "(sticky) granola trail mix"! It's just as good as the bars, just in smaller pieces!
We did make some less-healthy 'sweet' granola bars with a different recipe, and M&M's. They turned out too sweet, so I may post the recipe, edited, and I may not. I'll have to eat another one to make that decision :)