Mrs. Pat gave me this recipe sometime last year and I bought some of the ingredients, but never made them. I finally decided to make them yesterday since it’s a new year and I want to eat healthier and save money.
1. Spread out on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper (I reuse the same parchment paper for several times) and toast in 325 degree oven for 15 minutes:
2 cups rolled oats
½ cup flax meal
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup flax seeds
2. Line 7” x 11” glass baking dish with parchment paper (clothespins work well to hold it in place)
3. In a mixing bowl put (I find a plastic bowl works better than glass because the mixture seems to stick less):
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup almonds or peanuts (I break them up)
¼ cup chocolate chips (can use up to ½ cup)
4. In a saucepan heat over medium-low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. If the sugar dissolves before the oat mixture is done toasting, reduce the heat to low:
½ cup + 1 Tbsp honey
½ cup (heaping) reduced fat peanut butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 - ¼ cup brown sugar
When the oat mixture is done toasting, transfer it to a large bowl containing the nuts, sunflower kernels and chocolate chips; add the honey mixture; stir to incorporate. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan, using the back of a wooden spoon to create a smooth, even surface. (The harder you pack down the mixture, the harder the bars will be.) Bake the granola mixture for 12 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack.
Using a large sharp knife, cut the cooled bars into desired size. Store in an airtight container. (She said that they've lasted for up to 2 weeks at her house.)
NOTE: Using less honey and peanut butter make for a crunchier bar. I personally like mine a little chewy so I use the maximum amount. Also, don’t over-pack the uncooked material or it will be too hard and compact.
My notes: I used regular peanut butter, and cashews and craisins instead of the sunflower seeds and other nuts. I think I still need to play with the ratio of chocolate chips and brown sugar. I used 1/2 cup chocolate chips and 1/4 brown sugar. Sometimes it seemed too sweet and sometimes it seemed too salty.