a recipe: anything granola bars

I’m staring down the tunnel of testing season at school. Which means tomorrow I’ll either be quietly locked away in my office finishing up my collection development plan for the end of the year or I’ll be suddenly called to do my duty and proctor a test for third grade should some teacher call out sick (I did hear that one third grade teacher has hand foot mouth disease so I’m fearing the latter). Testing season in the elementary school brings with it both stress and anxiety for both teachers and students in the morning and then the extreme, almost delirious relief of the afternoon when the tests are over for the day (only to know that section two comes the next day). A combination of both celebration and the camaraderie of doing something no one wants to be doing for the day. I have a hard time mustering up any real emotion about it either way. All I’ll be thinking about (in addition to the spending of my library budget – Fiction? Nonfiction? Graphic novels? Dare I throw it all at picture books?) is Charlie giggling hysterically over toes tonight before bed. I mean hysterically. Toes!

On to the real topic for today. I discovered the best recipe for granola bars a few weeks ago. I loved them so much I’ve made them twice for us, once for the neighbors across the street who just welcomed a new baby and I’m planning another batch to be whipped up this week. They’re quite possibly the easiest thing because they are an “anything” recipe. Whatever you happen to have on hand you can throw in. Those are my favorite kinds of recipes. Flexible and forgiving. I’ve been playing around with an “anything” bread (or maybe some would call it cake πŸ˜‚) that I’ll share when I get it just right. But today I wanted to put his here for my own future reference and yours when the mood may strike.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup nuts
  • 1/4 maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup mix-ins of your choice (I used dried tropical trail mix here)

Here’s what to do:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9 inch square baking dish with parchment paper or foil.

Place oats and nuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes. Place them in a large bowl.

Combine syrup, butter, and brown sugar in a small saucepan on medium heat until butter and sugar are melted.

Remove from heat and stir in salt and vanilla. Pour over the oat and nut mixture.

Mix in any of your extras, saving chocolate.

If adding chocolate, let mixture cool for about fifteen minutes then add.

Use a rubber spatula to press into your pan. Chill for about two hours then remove from pan and cut!

I hope you try them! So yummy.

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