These nutrient-packed bars are great for an on-the-go snack, an energy boost for athletes and hikers, or a quick & easy breakfast. They can be customized with a variety of nuts, grains, and dried fruits.
2-1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/3 cup raw sesame seeds
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons unsulfured blackstrap molasses (or equivalent amount of honey or maple syrup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter (optional)
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1 cup dried blueberries, cranberries, chopped apricots or cherries--any combination (optional)
Coat a 9x13 baking pan with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On separate large baking sheet, combine oats, almonds, and the sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds; spread out in even layer. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in 2-quart sauce pan combine honey, molasses, salt, vanilla, cinnamon, and butter. Bring to boil over medium heat; boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. When oat mixture is finished toasting, remove from oven and pour in large mixing bowl; reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Add dried fruit (if using) and flax seed into oat mixture. Add hot liquid mixture to oatmeal mixture and stir until mix is well-coated. Immediately pour into prepared 9x13 pan. Spread evenly and pack down firmly using bottom of greased drinking glass. Bake 25 minutes. Cool completely. Invert pan to remove cooked mixture in one piece. Use large, heavy knife to cut into 16 bars. If too brittle to cut cleanly, heat in microwave for 10 seconds to soften slightly and ease cutting. Store cut bars in airtight container for at least 1 week. TO FREEZE: wrap each bar individually in parchment or waxed paper and place inside Ziploc freezer bag or other airtight freezer container.
NUTRITIONAL DATA (for 1 granola bar): 230 calories, 10.9g fat, 30.6g carbs, 3.8g fiber, 18.2g sugar, 5.6g protein
WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS PLUS (no butter versions): 6 points per bar without dried fruit, 7 points with dried fruit.
Recipe inspired by Marla at FamilyFreshCooking.com