Chewy Granola Bars

A few weeks ago we went on vacation – a nice 10 hour drive to the beach – and to prep I made up some snacks to take for the road  trip. Granola bars are something we typically buy for on-the-go snacks so I thought they’d be a great thing to try to make.

These were great – soft and chewy but not falling apart at all. We really enjoyed munching them all week. The recipe is also really versatile – you can mix in any fruit and nut combo you can dream up. I’m already thinking about what flavors to try next time I make these!

Chewy Granola Bars
(from Stephanie Cooks)
 
1 2/3 c. quick rolled oats
1/2 to 3/4 c. granulated sugar, depending on how sweet you want them
1/3 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. ground cinnamon
2 to 3 c. dried fruits and nuts (I used a mixture of cherries, dates, cashews and chocolate chips.)
1/3 c. peanut butter or another nut butter
1 t. vanilla extract
6 T. melted butter
1/4 c. honey
2 T. light corn syrup
1 T. water
 
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan with parchment and spray with nonstick spray.
Over low heat melt the butter. Stir in the peanut butter until smooth.
Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts.
 
In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter/peanut butter mix, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly crumbly. 
 
Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. 
 
Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.
 
Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. Cut with a serrated knife. Wrap each granola bar individually in plastic wrap and store in an airtight container.
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