“Get Smart” Granola Bars

“Get Smart” Granola Bars

Prep Time: 11 minutes   Ready In: 1hr20min

Great healthy snack and gift idea!

Ingredients:

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup dried blueberries, found in the Organic & Natural aisle
1 cup crisp rice cereal
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 cup flax seeds, found in the Organic & Natural aisle
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup unsalted almond butter, found in the Organic & Natural aisle
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350degreesF. Line a 9-by-13- inch baking pan with foil, leaving at least 2 inches of extra foil on the two short sides for lifting out the finished bars. Spray the foil with vegetable cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine oats, blueberries, rice cereal, wheat germ, flax seeds,ginger, and cinnamon. Mix until evenly blended. Set aside.
3. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the almond butter, butter, brown sugar, and honey. Heat for 1 minute and stir well. Heat for another 30 seconds, stir well, and repeat if necessary until mixture is uniform and smooth. Stir in vanilla extract and almond extract, if using.
4. Add the butter mixture to the oats and mix thoroughly.
5. Spray one of your hands with vegetable cooking spray and firmly press the granola into the prepared pan. This step is very important because it ensures that the bars will stay intact and won’t crumble after baking. Use the back of a soup spoon to press down as firmly as possible and smooth the surface. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until the edges are just golden. Watch very carefully at the end, as the granola goes from just right to overdone quickly. It still tastes good overdone, but the texture is drier and more crumbly.
6. Let mixture cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 hour. Then use the foil edges to lift the granola and gently flip over onto a cutting board. Peel off foil, being careful not to break the granola. With a sharp knife, cut into 24 bars. Wrap individually in waxed paper and store in an airtight container. To package, stack 6 bars together, wrap in a cellophane bag, and tie with a ribbon. Or pack in a container with a lid and top with a bow. Have kids write the ingredient list on an index card and include it with the package.
Source: Hannaford fresh Magazine, November – December 2009

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