Granola Bars

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I have been making granola bars for years with varying success. Some great, some too hard and crumbly. This recipe from Smitten Kitchen seems perfect. I did a few tweaks of my own. I made it twice and the recipe is from the second batch.

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1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats
1/4 Sugar
1/3 cup oat flour (or 1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup dried fruit (golden raisins, dates, Coconut, raisins, dried cranberries, cherries, etc)
1/2 cup nuts (toasted walnut are great, sesame seeds, etc)
1/3 cup peanut butter or another nut butter (I used Jiff natural creamy)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
1 tablespoon water

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Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter an 8″ x 8″ pan or coat with a non-stick spray.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter, peanut butter, honey, maple syrup and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry until the mixture is evenly moist. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges. They will set completely once completely cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack.

Once cool, a serrated knife to cut the bars into squares. In humid weather, it’s best to store bars in the refrigerator. They also freeze well.

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