Simple Granola Bars.

In my survey, I said I was famous around CCNM for making granola bars. Well, I've given out this recipe many, many times and am personally very fond of this recipe's simplicity. I can say with confidence (as I've seen many variations) that you can make substitutions/alterations to this recipe and it will still taste great.

Why make homemade granola bars? Here are 10 reasons why:

1) It's cheaper than buying packaged ones.
2) They only take 20ish minutes to make.
3) You can create your own unique flavors/combinations as the recipe lends itself to modifications well.
4) Less packaging (i.e. better for the environment).
5) Your house will smell amazing while they are baking and the scent will linger afterwards too (no need to buy candles to smell-up a room!).
6) Super healthy (no high-fructose corn syrup!).
7) Can be made vegan, sugar-free, and/or gluten-free.
8) No preservatives, dyes, or chemicals added to preserve freshness and/or enhance flavor.
9) The recipe requires minimal baking skills and few appliances/kitchen gadgets.
10) They contain love as they are homemade.

Simple Granola Bars

1 1/2 cups grain (ideas: oats, crushed cereal, cream of wheat)
1/4 cup dried fruit (ideas: cranberries, raisins, chopped apricots)
1/4 cup nuts (ideas: walnuts, almonds, pecans)
1/4 cup seeds (ideas: pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
1/4 cup liquid sweetener (ideas: mashed banana, maple syrup, juice concentrate)
1/4 cup nut/seed butter (ideas: almond, Valencia peanut, tahini)

Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl, then add the sweeter and butter. Stir to combine. Press firmly into a well-greased or parchment paper-lined baking pan (8x8 or 9x9). Using a sharp knife, cut the dough (which, at this point, is flattened into the baking pan) into granola bar-sized pieces. Bake at 350F for ten minutes. Let cool completely before removing from the pan. These bars will keep for 5 days. I like to make a batch on Sunday and eat them as midday snacks during the week.

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