Once you go homemade grano, you never go back!
These are chewy and moist, and contain much less sugar than your typical store-bought bars. They are also infinitely adaptable to whatever nuts, dried fruit, grains and flours and oils happen to be on hand - test out different versions and see which you prefer.
1 cup quick rolled oats
2/3 cup almond meal (ground almonds - if you don't use, simply increase the oats by this amount)
1/4 - 3/4 cup sugar (I tend towards the less is more school of sugar)
1/3 cup flour (can be oat, all-purpose, whole wheat, kamut - you get the picture)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 - 3 cups roughly chopped nuts and dried fruit (basically any combination that suits your fancy: cranberries, dates, apricots, apples, coconut, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, seeds, chocolate chips, candied ginger...)
1/3 cup almond or peanut butter
6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter (if you use salted butter, omit the salt above) OR canola oil (you can substitute peanut oil, sunflower oil, but not olive oil - the taste will be too strong for a fruit-based bar!)
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (you could also use agave syrup)
1 or 2 teaspoons water
(Pre-heat oven to 350F)
1. In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients and set aside.
2. In a second bowl, mix together nut butter and melted butter/oil, and then add honey/maple syrup and stir well.
3. Incorporate wet ingredients into dry, ensuring the mix is evenly moistened. It should be the consistency of damp grainy sand - wet enough that it sticks to your fingers a bit, but not so much that it's muddy! If it's a little dry, add a some water to moisten it.
4. Line a square baking pan (8 or 9 inches) with parchment paper, and dump in your mix, flattening it out with your knuckles (sticks less than using your fingertips) to ensure that the mix is evenly distributed in the pan.
5. Bake for 30-40 minutes (rotate after 20 minutes) or until the top is golden brown.
6. THIS IS IMPORTANT: Once the bars are baked, let them cool at least 10 minutes in the pan, then remove with the parchement paper and let cool another 20 minutes on a rack. If you try to cut the bars before they are cool enough, you will have some very good granola, but will have a hard time calling it a bar!
7. Once cool, cut into squares. These will keep well in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week.