Soft Granola Bars
(with thanks to the Smitten Kitchen for inspiration)
3 cups oatmeal (old fashioned or quick)
1 cup of oatmeal finely ground in blender or food processor
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 to 3 cups of add-ins*
2/3 cup of peanut butter or other nut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or maple extract)
1/2 cup of honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup dry milk (optional)
3 Tablespoons water
1/4 cup of coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9×13 inch pan with parchment paper.
Mix together the dry ingredients. Place the remaining ingredients in a microwave-friendly bowl and heat for 1 minute or until peanut butter is soft. Stir and pour over the dry ingredients. Mix until well blended. (If there is dry oatmeal still at the bottom of the bowl, add a little more honey/syrup.)
Spread everything into your prepared pan. Firmly press the mixture down and into the corners of the pan with a rolling pin or a wooden spoon. Putting a piece of plastic wrap that has been lightly sprayed with baking spray over top before packing can help if sticking is a problem.
Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes, until they are starting to brown around the edges. They can bake for another 10 minutes if you like them crisper.
Let cool to luke-warm. Cut into bars or squares. Let them cool completely, then wrap individually or store in airtight container.
*Suggestions: dried cranberries, dates, apricots, coconut, crushed pretzels, Rice Krispies, walnuts, sunflower seeds, pecans, dried apples, chocolate chips, dried pineapple, Bran Buds, flax, sesame seeds, raisins, wheat germ.