Yes, granola bars. I don't often post recipes on my blog, but this one, originally posted at Smitten Kitchen (and which I've been meaning to try for a while) was a definite hit. For some reason, I was pretty sure that homemade granola bars would be hard to make and that I wouldn't make them well, and neither of those things turned out to be true.
These are in fact very yummy. I especially liked that I could throw together whatever I happened to have on hand to make the 2-3 cups of dry ingredients. One reason I wanted to make these now was that my sister recently sent us a little gift of dried fruit, and I thought it would be fun to use it to provide some variety in the bars. It worked beautifully. I cut up some of the dried apricots, pears, and even prunes (the sweet girl nixed the dates, as she doesn't like them much) and then threw in raisins we had on hand and also some dried cranberries and a few dried cherries. I added in some really good shredded coconut from Bob's Red Mill and we tossed in some good sesame seeds for good measure. Oh, and we had cashews on hand and I chopped those up and added them as well. Bob's Red Mill Oats were our base, and I pulsed some of them in the blender to make oat flour (which also worked great).
It suggests baking them for 20-30 minutes. I left them in closer to 30 minutes, not wanting to underbake, but I think 20 is probably a better idea. They may seem too soft at 20, but close to 30 (at least in my oven) made them a little too crunchy. Of course, even crunchy these are really, really good!
The sweet girl and I are already planning to try another batch with different combinations of things -- maybe peanut butter (which we didn't use this time around) and chocolate chips. Tonight's bars were only mildly sweet and the cranberries and sesame seeds gave them more of a tart/healthy feel than a decadent dessert one. Again, I like that this is a basic and very adaptable recipe.