Homemade Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

The team has been on a homemade granola kick lately, sampling a variety of recipes to find which we like best. MP decided to take granola a step further and make homemade granola bars for school snacks. We all agree the homemade version is ten times better than boxed. The satisfying granola bars are flavorful, moist, and naturally sweetened with honey. Best of all, the whole house smells delicious when you bake them.

MP prefers store brand oatmeal for this recipe. It’s typically less expensive and you can buy a big canister for future granola bars. She splurges on local honey instead. The team likes the dark, late season honey from the Maine Audubon Nature Store.

To make:

Ingredients

• 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

• 1 cup sliced almonds

• 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (Sweetened or plain, depending on your preference)

• 1/2 cup toasted wheat germ

• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

• 2/3 cup honey

• 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed

• 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

• 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

• 1 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips

(substitute the chips for dried fruit or nuts if you like)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 8 by 12-inch baking dish with cooking spray, and line the dish with parchment paper. Note: The parchment paper is a necessary step. Lining the baking dish with parchment makes it easier to slice and remove your granola bars when they’re cool.

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together in the baking dish and bake for 6 minutes. After the first 6 minutes is up, toss the oatmeal mixture with a spatula, and bake for 6 minutes more. The mixture will be lightly browned when ready. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.

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Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Stir the mixture well, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes before adding chocolate chips (this step keeps the chips from melting).

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The honey mixture on the stove. Mix well for a smooth consistency.

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Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Keep a warm towel nearby to clean the honey from your hands.

The granola bars before going into the oven.

The granola bars before going into the oven.

Bake for 25 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

Bon appetit!

These are fabulous with a cold glass of milk or cup of tea.

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten

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