Homemade Chewy Granola Bars with Nuts,Chia, and Cranberries

Store purchased granola bars are usually full of fillers, far too sweet, not nearly as chewy as they should be, and fall apart quickly. Make them at home and you will be so impressed with how amazing they can be!
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For bars that are wholesome, satisfyingly chewy, and neat to eat, we combined toasted oats, nuts, seeds, rice cereal, and dried cranberries with a mixture of pureed apricots, brown sugar, and oil. This mixture is firmly pressed into a baking sheet and baked. Feel free to swap out the nuts and seeds to fit your family’s favorite variety of tastes. We like using dried cherries in place of the cranberries and topping the finished bars with a drizzle of melted chocolate. Be creative!

Chewy Granola Bars with Walnuts and Cranberries

1 ½ cups walnuts or pecans, toasted
2 ½ cups (7 1/2 ounces) old-fashioned rolled oats
½ cup Organic Grains white chia seeds
1 cup dried apricots (soaked in 1 cup hot water for 20 minutes)
1 cup packed (7 ounces) brown sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
½ cup organic coconut oil
1 ½ cups (1 1/2 ounces) Organic Rice Krispies cereal
1 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 300°F. Prepare a 13 by 9-inch sheet pan with a 1 inch lip.  Lightly spray the parchment and sides of the pan with vegetable oil spray.
  • Pulse the nuts in a food processor until finely chopped, 8 to 10 pulses. Pour into a large bowl. Add the oats, chia seeds.
  • Drain the apricots and process them with the sugar, salt, and water in a food processor until apricots are finely ground for about 15 seconds. With the processor running, add coconut oil. Continue to process until homogeneous paste forms, about 1 minute longer. Transfer paste to the large bowl containing the oat, nut and chia seeds.
  • Stir with a rubber spatula until well combined. Add the cereal and cranberries and stir gently until ingredients are evenly mixed.
  • Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread into even layer.
  • Place a 14-inch sheet of parchment or waxed paper on top of the granola and press and smooth very firmly with your hands, especially at edges and corners, until granola is level and compact.
  • Remove the parchment and bake granola until fragrant and just beginning to brown around edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 1 hour. Invert the granola bar pan onto wire rack and allow cool completely for about 1 hour.
  • Discard the parchment and transfer the granola bars to a cutting board. Using chef’s knife, cut granola in half crosswise to create two 6½ by 9-inch rectangles. Cut each rectangle in half to make four 3¼ by 9-inch strips. Cut each strip crosswise into six equal pieces. Granola bars can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 weeks. Yield: 24 bars.