Cashmere Apron

soft and chewy granola bars

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Here is the perfect snack to put into your child’s summer camp lunch box or into your beach bag on your way out the door for a day of fun in the sun. Why reach for a packaged granola bar when these are so simple to make and delicious to eat. You can change up the chocolate chips to white chocolate chips or throw in a different type of nut if you like.

Ingredients
2-1/2 cups quick cooking, old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup plus 3 Tb mini chocolate chips

granola bars

Directions
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line bottom and sides of a 8-inch or 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil. Lightly oil or spray the pan with cooking spray.

Add oats and almonds to a small baking sheet and bake 5 minutes, stir and bake another 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a large bowl.

Combine butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract and the salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally until the butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves.

Pour the butter mixture into a bowl with toasted oats and almonds. Mix well. Let cool about 5 minute then add the cranberries and 1/4 cup of the mini chocolate chips. Stir to combine. (The chocolate chips will most likely melt a little. This is fine, they turn into a glue and help hold the bars together).

Transfer oat mixture to the lined pan and use a rubber spatula or damp finger tips to firmly press the mixture into the pan. (Press hard here, this way the bars will stay together once cooled and cut). Scatter remaining 3 Tb chocolate chips over pressed granola mixture and use the rubber spatula to gently press the chocolate chips into the top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Remove block of granola mixture from the pan and peel away the aluminum foil. Cut into bars.

Store bars in an airtight container for up to one week. For softer bars, keep at room temperature. For slightly harder bars, store in refrigerator. Makes 12 bars. Compliments: www.inspiredtaste.net

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What else can you throw in your beach bag besides these delicious morsels. Check out this Thursday’s “Beach Bag Bash” post.

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