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I adapted this recipe from Brown Eyed Baker‘s blog. I receive her post via email and Michelle has wonderful recipes! I made these by Michelle’s recipe the first time and they are just like the Quaker oat bars you buy in the store! I have played around with recipe adding different ‘extras’ and the sky’s the limit with what you can do! I’m on a kick about phasing out pre-packaged stuff from our diet and this gives us a great healthy snack free of pre-packaged ‘stuff’. I’m sure you’ll like it too! Here’s my version…
Chewy Granola Bars
1/3 c. light brown sugar
1/3 c. dark brown sugar (or all light brown if you want)
1/2 c. honey
6 tbls. unsalted butter
1 tsp. almond extract (or vanilla, I used almond to go w/cherries)
4 c. quick-cooking oats
2 c. crispy rice cereal
Dried cherries, chopped (you can use any dried fruit!)
Chopped almonds (use pistachios, walnuts, pecan…)
6 tbls. mini chocolate chips (try butterscotch or white choc…)
1. Lightly grease a 15×10 baking pan; set aside. (or a 13×9 depends on how thick you want them)
2. In a large bowl, stir the oats and rice cereal together and add any nuts or fruit; set aside. In a small saucepan, melt the brown sugar, honey, and butter together over medium-high heat until it begins to bubble. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the extract.
3. Pour the melted mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well to moisten all ingredients. Pour the oat mixture into the prepared pan and press down to ensure that the ingredients are tightly compacted in the pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with the miniature chocolate chips (and coconut if using) and press down on the top lightly with the back of a spoon.
4. Cool at room temperature for at least 2 hrs. or until the chocolate chips are set before cutting into bars. Wrap in plastic wrap or keep in an airtight container and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
I found that they stay fairly sticky and soft in the heat we have been having so I keep them in the fridge.