Just in Time for Summer: The Best Granola Bar Ever
First, I have to say I hate all granola bars except the super-delicious Mojo Bar (fruit and nut variety, preferably, although I’ll eat the mixed nut one). Mojo Bars are soft, chewy, packed with delicious chunks of fruit, nutty, and satisfying. They are also a little on the pricy side.
And indeed, it was good. But the perfect granola bar? Not quite. Tweaking, and plenty of it, followed. Herewith I give you, the only granola bar you’ll ever want again.
With a tip of the keyboard to Joyful Abode, Perfect Granola Bars
Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a 13″ x 11″ pyrex pan very well.
In a large pan, toast for 10 minutes, or until a rich golden brown:
2 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup raw pumpkin kernels (you know, the little green kind. Not the kind with the white shell still on.)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup peanuts, crushed (use that meat tenderizing hammer that looks like a prop from “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”)
1/4 cup walnut or pecans, also crushed
1/4 cup flax seed
Stir frequently while toasting, so it doesn’t burn. Don’t let it get too brown or the wheat germ will be bitter. Let it cool in the pan while you fix the dried fruit.
3 ounces of chopped dried apricots
5 chopped prunes
4 ounces dried cherries
Mix the grains and the fruit in a big bowl.
In a small saucepan, bring to a boil
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Let this mixture boil for about a minute, then pour it over the grain and fruit mixture. Mix very, very well with a big wooden spoon. Every grain of oatmeal should be marinating in the sugary goodness. All the flax seeds should be bound to the mixture. Scrape it into the pyrex pan and use the spoon to flatten it as much as you can. Then press a piece of buttered wax paper over the top and press down hard, to smoosh the mixture into a cohesive mass. Pull off the wax paper and let it cool.
When it’s mostly cool, cut it into bars. I use my metal benchscraper, which cuts through the fruit and nuts without fuss.
When they are completely cool, try one. You’ll be in heaven.