one of the only reasons we still visit whole foods (aka whole paycheck) -- or more correctly, whole foods' bakery -- the fresh granola bars. and over the last year, even our relationship with their baked goods has been shaky. first they traded out honey on their ingredients list for hf corn syrup, then after returning to the original recipe, they abolished the economical 1/2-dozen pre-packs for a once/twice per week, irregularly scheduled spot in the baked-goods display near the coffee bar...at two bucks a pop. really, whole foods? if I didn't already have opinions on their c.e.o. and management attitude toward slip-falls on their property, it might be enough to turn me off as a customer (...but their seeduction bread is brilliant. anyone who can get that recipe can have my first-born). anyway...they clearly don't understand b's addiction to the granola bar.
thusly the quest begins for a suitable replacement for the nutty, seedy goodness b can't do without.
attempt one: deb's smitten kitchen granola bars
makes 12 to 16 granola bars
2 c. rolled oats, or 4-grain cereal (oats, rye, barley and wheat)
1 c. sliced almonds
1 c. shredded coconut, loosely packed (unsweetened)
1/2 c. ground flax seed
2/3 c. honey
1 1/2 tsps vanilla extract
zest of 1 lime
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1 1/2 c. dried fruit, mixed (cranberries, tart cherries and blueberries)
preheat oven to 350°f. line an 8×12" baking dish with parchment paper.
toss oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. transfer mixture to large mixing bowl and stir in flax seed. reduce oven temp to 300°f.
while mixture is still warm, stir in honey, vanilla and salt until mixture is well coated, then the dried fruit. pour mixture into prepared baking dish and press it with wet fingers and/or silicon spatula, until mixture is packed as tightly as possible.
bake 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares — a serrated knife was best of the few we tried. it's pretty crumbly. a mix of honey and brown sugar might have been stickier than the honey and agave syrup mix I tried.
store in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two, if they even last that long.