Growing up as a kid I was always on the move. I participated in so many different sports and my poor mom had to drive me around to all of them. She would always have a tasty snack for me waiting in the car for me while we drove to the next practice. My favorite snack was a chocolate chip granola bar. Simple, sweet, and it gave me a lot of energy (not that I needed any extra!). Now, as an adult, I still enjoy granola bars but, I am always finding that the flavors are a bit boring. I recently saw Ina Garten make her own granola bars from scratch and I was immediately inspired to do the same. But like any recipe, especially one like a granola bar, the world is your plate! Granola bars are like blank canvases waiting to be painted with yummy flavors of the season. Or at least that is how I see them!

I recently went on an outdoor education trip with my schools 4th grade, and I thought what better snack to make for the trip up? So I got to thinking and wanted to start simple. I found, after reading all of the wonderful comments from my SITS day, that many people are looking for easy simple recipes. And who isn’t really? With that in mind, I decided to make these the easy way. I went to the grocery store and grabbed the basic ingredients for Ina’s granola bars but instead of buying expensive add in ingredients, I bought a bag of Sun-Maid fruit bits. I thought that this was a great way of adding in lots of fruits without the expense. I was right! These bars were fantastic! Ina’s recipe is tried and true and easily adaptable! The granola bars were easy to make and so darn good. I will be making many variations from here on out. Just like home made tortillas, I will only be making my own granola bars too! I think the next time I make granola bars I will add some pomegranate and dark chocolate in them! Yum!

Fruit Filled Granola
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Granola Bars

Ingredients

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 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 cup Fruit bits from Sun Maid

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  4. 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. Add in the fruit bits and stir well.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.

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