Granola Bars

granola-bars1
For some reason I haven’t had much success with homemade granola. Considering the far more complicated foods I have tackled, I am a bit puzzled as to why I can’t seem to get it right. I babysit the oats as they turn golden brown, but in a matter of seconds they go from tan to burnt. I yank the sheet pan from the oven telling myself they look darker than they are, but the odor gives away their overdone condition.

Determined not to throw in the kitchen towel, I tried granola in bar form. With luck on my side, I ended up with perfectly browned bars better than packaged ones from the grocery. The dried apricots and cherries added tartness to the toasted caramel and another dimension of chewiness. Armed with a new sense of confidence, perhaps I will give granola another go.

granola-bars2Granola Bars
Adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi & Sami Tamimi

Makes 12 bars

Nonstick cooking spray
1/2 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1/2 cup dried sour cherries
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/4 cup sesame seeds
2-1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1-1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
3/4 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8-inch square cake pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Toast the pecans on a baking sheet for 7 minutes.

Combine the apricots and cherries in a small bowl. Cover with hot water and allow to stand for 10 minutes and drain.

In a large bowl combine the apricots, cherries, pumpkin seeds, almonds, sesame seeds, oats, cinnamon and salt. Stir in the apricots and cherries.

In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the butter, honey and sugar to a low simmer. Continue to heat until the mixture becomes a caramel color, about 7-10 minutes.

Stir the caramel into the oat mixture. Transfer to the prepared cake pan and smooth down into a compact even layer using a spoon and your hands.

Bake for 25 minutes until golden brown. Cool for 25 minutes and remove from the pan. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container.

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