Back-to-School Snacks | Mix & Match Granola Bars

if you are like me packing school lunches and snacks has already worn you out, and the novelty of the new school year over.  only two months in and i already want to tap out.
can't we just send them with all of that halloween candy instead?

obviously kit kats and mr. big's don't make the greatest recess snacks/complete lunches (well parents excluded, coffee is best paired with chocolate, so it works anytime of day.)
with chocolate bars excluded, granola bars make a far better alternative, and tend to be our family go-to.  they pack easily, come in a multitude of flavours, and satisfy that mid-day stomach grumble healthily.
today i'm sharing a recipe for mix & match granola bars.  perfect to customize to the family preference, which in our case is chocolate chips, cashews and coconut.  we are a family undivided.
however to be school friendly we end up going nut-free, but the school safe flavours you can play with are endless & delicious.
have fun creating! xo

Mix & Match Granola Bars

1. Prepare the Base Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving an overhang; coat with cooking spray and set aside. Toss 3 cups rolled oats with 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter on a rimmed baking sheet; spread in a single layer. Bake until toasted, 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely, then transfer to a large bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the following (choose one or a combination).

  • Salted roasted nuts (any kind), chopped
  • Salted roasted sunflower seeds
  • Salted roasted pepitas
  • Toasted shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)

2. Choose Your Mix-Ins Measure out 1 cup of the following (choose one or a combination); set aside.

  • Dried fruit, chopped if large
  • Mini M&M’s
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • Carob chips
  • Yogurt chips
  • Yogurt-covered raisins
  • Crisp rice cereal
  • Pretzels, crushed
  • Cookies (any kind), crushed
  • Graham crackers, crushed

3. Make the Bars Combine 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (or 2 tablespoons each coconut oil and vegetable oil) in a medium saucepan with ½ cup light brown sugar, 1/4 cup honey or light agave syrup, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. (The mixture will bubble and foam.) Cook just 30 seconds, then pour over the oat mixture and stir. Let cool slightly, then stir in your mix-ins. Pour into the prepared pan and press firmly and evenly with a rubber spatula.

4. Let Cool Let the bars stand at room temperature until completely cool and firm enough to slice, 1 to 3 hours. (Bars made with agave will take a little longer to firm up.) Lift out of the pan using the foil overhang; remove the foil and cut into 24 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

recipe & photography via food network magazine 


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