Courtesy of @ashley rodriguez

Granola is, in our popular consciousness, the ultimate health food–and it’s hard to deny that this compact, easy-to-eat food is chock-full of good stuff. Sure you can buy it in the stores, but if you have a little time, you can make it at home, without all the preservatives and additives found in the commercial offerings. Here is our basic homemade granola bars recipe, feel free to elaborate!

Homemade Granola Bar

2 c oatmeal (old fashioned rolled oats)
1 c nuts, like sliced almonds, chopped pecans or walnuts
1 c shredded coconut, loosely packed
1/4 c flax seeds (optional)
3 tbs unsalted butter
2/3 c honey
1/4 c dark brown sugar, lightly packed
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 c chopped dried fruit

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter an 8×12-inch baking dish. Line it with parchment or waxed paper.

Toss the oatmeal, nuts, and coconut together. Lay them out on a sheet pan, and  bake for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is lightly browned. Transfer it to a large mixing bowl; stir in the flax seeds.

Put the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt into a small saucepan. Bring them to a boil over medium heat.* Cook for about a minute, then pour the mixture over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dried fruit and stir well.

Pour into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool the result for 2 to 3 hours before beginning cutting. Wrap the bars in individual servings and store them in your pantry.

*Melted butter and sugar can burn, so make sure to keep the kids away from the stove.