Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Granola Bars

2 1/2 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 c. whole almonds, coursely chopped
1/3 c. honey
1/4 c. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Between 1 and 3 Tbsp. peanut butter
1/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 c. plus 2 Tbsp. mini chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350.  Line bottom and side of an 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil.  Lightly oil or spray with cooking spray.  Add oats and almonds to a small baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes. Stir and bake of another 3-5 minutes until lightly toasted.  Transfer to a large bowl.  

Combine butter, peanut butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook, stirring occasionally until butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.  Pour butter mixture into bowl with toasted oats and almonds.  Mix well.  Let cool about 5 minutes, then add 1/4 c. of the mini chocolate chips.  Stir to combine.  Chocolate chips will most likely melt a little; this is fine--they turn into glue and help hold the bars together.  

Transfer oat mixture to lined pan; then use a rubber spatula or damp fingertips to firmly press the mixture into the pan.  Press hard and at least for one minute.  Scatter remaining 2 Tbsp. of chocolate chips over pressed granola mixture then use a rubber spatula to gently press them into the top. Cover; refrigerate for at least 2 hours.  Remove block of granola mixture from pan; peel away aluminum foil. Cut into 12 bars.

I prefer to freeze these, especially with the humidity of Hawaii.

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