I have been struggling lately with trying to be good about snacking. I have gotten into the routine of snacking on all kinds of yumminess thanks to the holidays and the plethora of goodies that are still lingering around the house. OK, it doesn’t help that I made chocolate chip cookies yesterday. Not to mention that is was the New York Times Chocolate Chip cookies that are 5 inches in diameter. Anyway, I digress. I decided today that I needed a heathy treat that I wouldn’t feel too bad about snacking on. Who am I kidding? It really doesn’t bother me that I snack on chocolate chips cookies. They are delicious. I did, however, make homemade granola bars. They are one of my favorites for breakfast.

These granola bars first made an appearance at our house a couple of years ago and they quickly became a favorite. I have never had luck in keeping them from crumbling apart, but it doesn’t stop me from enjoying them. They are also quite delicious crumbled over yogurt. I love the nuttiness from the wheat germ and the sweetness from the honey and brown sugar is superb. My children do not love these as much as they love my regular granola. Partially they don’t appreciate them because this granola is not as sweet and candy-like as the store bought variety, but that’s OK. One day I am sure they will come to love them as much as Jeffrey and I do–until then–there will more for the adults!

Granola Bars

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (shelled)
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried fruit (I normally use dried cranberries because I always have them on hand.)

Spray or butter a 9 by 9 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread oats, sunflower seeds, almonds, and wheat germ on a baking sheet. (I use a stoneware bar pan.) Place in the oven for 15 minutes to toast. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Heat over medium heat until the brown sugar has completely dissolved.

Once the oat mixture has toasted remove it from the oven and reduce the heat to 300 degrees. Add the oat mixture to the honey mixture, stirring well to combine. Stir in dried friuit. Once everything is well combined pour into your prepared baking dish. Press the mixture in firmly. (I spray my hands with cooking spray and use them to pack the mixture into the dish.) Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove and let cool. I find that if I score the mixture while it is still warm it is easier to cut once they have completely cooled.

Dry ingredients ready to toast.

Wet ingredients heating over the stove.

Fresh out of the oven!

Adapted from Alton Brown