Homemade granola bars will fuel kids during classes, extracurricular activities and more

As the kids head back to school, these chewy granola bars are ideal for your baking menu. It’s a perfect pre-packaged snack that travels well.

A quick note: don’t use quick, instant, or extra thick oatmeal in this recipe. Oatmeal (also called old-fashioned or regular oats) are whole oats that have been steamed and then rolled. If those same oatmeal is rolled very thinly, it’s called quick oats because it cooks, well, faster. Instant oats are cooked and then dehydrated, so they no longer need cooking, just hot water.

Cranberry Nut Granola Bars

Makes 12 bars

  • 3/4 cup walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 3/4 cup Rice Krispies cereal
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

Adjust the oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make a sling of aluminum foil for an 8-inch square metal pan. Spray the foil with vegetable oil spray.

In a food processor, blend nuts until finely chopped, about 10 pulses of 1 second. Transfer the nuts to a rimmed baking sheet. Add oats and sunflower seeds to the baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Bake until the oats are lightly browned, about 12 minutes.

Place the baking sheet on a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. While the oat mixture is cooling, reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.

Combine oil and water in a liquid measuring cup. Add the apricots, brown sugar and salt to the food processor and mix until the apricots are very finely ground, about 15 seconds. With the processor running, pour the oil mixture through the feed tube and mix until a paste forms, about 1 minute.

Transfer the apricot paste to a large bowl. Add the cooled oat mixture and stir until the oats are coated with the apricot paste. Add the cereal and cranberries and stir gently until combined.

Scrape the mixture into the tin covered with foil and spread it in an even layer. Use the bottom of a dry measuring cup to press VERY firmly (especially around edges and corners) until smooth and flat. Bake until the granola is brown around the edges, about 25 minutes.

Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and allow the granola bars to cool completely in the pan, about 2 hours. Use foil to remove the bars from the pan and transfer them to a cutting board. Cut into bars and serve.

To follow

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