Saturday, September 10, 2011

Chewy Fruit & Nut Granola Bars

  • Once you make these simple and tasty granola bars at home, you will think twice about buying store-bought bars filled with preservatives. When you make your own you can add your favorite ingredients and mix it up each time. Sometimes I cut these into bite-size pieces to serve as bar cookies at parties.

Makes about 16 rectangular granola bars

  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup puffed rice or kamut (I use Arrowhead brand)
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup of diced dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds (or nuts of your choice, chopped cashews or peanuts are tasty)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp each of ground cloves and nutmeg
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • Optional: 1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine and stir all the dry ingredients together. Pour sweetened condensed milk over dry mixture until it is just sticking together (if it seems too wet, add more oats). Evenly spread over a cooky sheet lined with a silicone baking mat (Silpat), and press with spatula to about 1/2 inch thick. Bake for 20-25 minutes until just golden around the edges. 

Let cool, then transfer to a cutting board to cut into your desired bar size. Enjoy for a snack or dessert! Customize with your favorite fruit and nut combos.

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