Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's a Keeper Thursday: Fruit, Seed and Nut Granola Bars

We're always on the look-out for a energy-type granola bar for longer walks and quick, portable snacks, but commercial bars have so much "extra stuff" in them. And, since C is allergic to peanuts, we need granola without peanuts which can be hard to find. Seeing this bar recipe in The Cookbook for Kids: Great Recipes for Kids who Love to Cook, we thought we would give them a try...and they were GREAT!

Fruit, Seed and Nut Granola Bars

3 T butter
2 c rolled oats
1 c raw whole almonds
1/2 c raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/4 c raw sunflower seeds
1/2 c dried raisins
1/2 c dried cranberries
2/3 c honey
1/4 c packed light brown sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 8x12 dish with non-stick spray or line with buttered parchment paper.
2. On a rimmed baking sheet, combine oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds. Bake, stirring 1-2 times, until JUST golden, or about 8 minutes. Place in a large bowl. Add in raisins and cranberries. Set aside.
3. Reduce oven to 300 degrees. In a small saucepan, combine honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often, for about 30 seconds, OR UNTIL BUTTER is melted. Pour over oat mixture and stir gently until combined. Scoop into 8x12 pan, cool slightly, then press into an even layer.
4. Bake until golden around the edges or about 20 minutes. Let pan cool on wire rack for 10 minutes then lift paper to get granola out OR let cool completely and remove with a spatula. Cut into snack-size squares. (Makes about 16 depending on the size of your squares.)

Did  you know that pumpkin seeds shelled are called pepitas? I didn't! We ended up using regular pumpkin seeds from the nuts and seed snack aisle at the grocery store and they worked out just fine!  You can DEFINITELY customize the dried fruit, seeds and nuts in this recipe! Next time we want to try dried blueberries and raspberries with chopped raw walnuts and almonds! Happy snacking!

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