2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup rice crispies
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon water
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup white chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 325. Line a square 8" baking pan with 2 crisscrossed rectangles of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang at 2 opposite ends. The overhang is what will assist you in lifting the granola out of the pan for cutting.
Combine the oats and almonds and spread them out evenly on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes. When the oat mixture has been toasting for about 10 minutes, combine the honey, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, oil and water in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar.
When the oat mixture is done toasting, transfer it to a large bowl and add the honey mixture, rice crispies, white chocolate chips and fruit; stir to incorporate. Spread evenly in bottom of pan, pressing down to create a smooth, even top.
Bake the granola mixture for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. After about a half and hour, press down again super HARD to make sure everything sticks together and you can get nice, firm bars. A measuring cup works well for this. Sprinkle the rest of the white chocolate chips on top and press down lightly.
Let cool completely. Just like my last granola bar recipe- I am serious here. Resist the temptation, I know how hard it is. But if you cut them too soon they will crumble everywhere and they won't be granola bars anymore. Just granola.
... Just like this. Wait at least 2-3 hours before cutting.
Once cool, lift out of pan using paper as handles. Cut into one-inch wide bars with a large, sharp knife. Then, cut them again in half lengthwise. Store in an airtight container. If you aren't going to eat them all within a week, be sure to refrigerate or freeze them. There are no preservatives in these, so they won't last forever and a lifetime in your pantry like the store bought kinds.
not the prettiest bars, but goodness they are tasty!
I waited the recommend 2-3 hours before trying to cut them apart, but I still had a lot of crumble. I think it is because I left my almonds too large and spread them out too thin. I love big chunky nuts in my granola bars, but with this recipe I should have made them thicker. I used a 9x13 pan so I could have small, traditional sized granola bars. With big nuts, I needed a smaller pan, like my 8x8.
But that's OK. I got about 20 or so bars and with the rest I crumbled further to make granola.
I had the perfect afternoon snack, strawberry greek yogurt topped with my homemade granola. Heavenly.