Honey almond granola bars.

Since the loose granola has been such a hit lately I decided to try this granola bar recipe I came across on msn’s delish. Wow, another winner. It consists of only healthy ingredients like almond butter instead of peanut butter, unrefined sugar as opposed to refined, and honey for the sweet sticky stuff and of course nuts, seeds, grains, and berries. I have no problem with little Z ingesting any of these ingredients, love it! Yes these bars do cost more to make than buying a box of granola bars at the store and yes they take a little time but the pay out is worth it. I took a bar to work (my guinea pigs) and broke it into 8 little bites (grocery store free sample style). The response was unanimous, these bars were winners. Several people even said I could sell these (if only it were my recipe to sell).

Once again I changed some ingredients for what I had at home as well as replacing some for ones I just like better. Raisins no, blueberries yes. Apricots I didn’t have, cranberries I did. For original recipe follow link above.

Honey Almond Granola Bars

Makes 8 bars at about 275 calories each.

1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 c. slivered almonds
1/4 c. sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon flax seeds, preferably golden
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 c. unsweetened whole-grain puffed cereal (Kashi Honey Puffs. I used their go lean original and just picked out the fiber twigs.)
1/3 c. currants
1/3 c. dried cranberries, chopped or not, your choice.
1/3 c. dried blueberries
1/4 c. creamy almond butter
1/4 c. turbinado sugar (see Tips)
1/4 c. honey
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. sea salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray.

Spread oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the oats are lightly toasted and the nuts are fragrant, shaking the pan halfway through, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add cereal, currants, apricots, and raisins; toss to combine.

Combine almond butter, sugar, honey, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low, stirring frequently, until the mixture bubbles lightly, 2 to 5 minutes.

Immediately pour the almond butter mixture over the dry ingredients and mix with a spoon or spatula until no dry spots remain. Transfer to the prepared pan. Lightly coat spatula with cooking spray and press the mixture down firmly to make an even layer (wait until the mixture cools slightly if necessary). Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes; cut into 8 bars.

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