I love granola bars.. but they sure can be expensive and not so tasty..I have thrown many a package of yucky granola bars away. Some taste like sawdust, or like are completely tasteless which who wants to eat something tasteless...I love flavor.... so I have been on a non stop search to make my own.. This recipe is one I came up with after researching many bar recipes and seeing ingredients that I either didn't like, or couldn't find.
I used dried cranberries, but any dried fruit, think dried apples and pumpkin pie spice for fall, or dried mixed berries, or blueberries or dried strawberries for spring or summer. Next time I am going to try and incorporate peanut butter and some peanuts for some of the nuts. I used whole almonds, but use any kind of nuts that you like, pecans, peanuts, walnuts anything will work, use your imagination and what you have on hand. Also thinking chocolate chips in here would be yummy too, maybe a little cocoa powder and a dash of cinnamon the possibilities are endless..
**NOTE** ...I also heat up the sweetened condensed milk a little to make it easier to mix together with the oatmeal mixture, otherwise all of the ingredients don't get coated properly, and are too dry.
Whatever you use, make these for your family today...enjoy :)
Homemade granola bars
1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (not instant)
1 1/2 cups coconuts, shredded or flaked
1 1/2 cups nuts ( I used whole almonds)
1 cup cranberries
pinch of kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla
Preheat oven to 250. Line a 13x9 pan with foil overhanging the edges for easy removal and spray with nonstick spray.
In saucepan put sweetened condensed milk, salt & vanilla. Heat over medium low until mixture is thinned out a little, not till bubbling but warmed through.
In a very large bowl, add oats, coconut, nuts, cranberries, and mix with a big spoon. Pour milk mixture over the oat mixture and mix well. Dump mixture onto 13x9 pan and spread out in an even layer with a spatula. Bake for about an hour. Immediately remove from pan lifting foil out and letting cool on a flat surface. Let cool about 10-15 minutes and cut into bars... Can wrap individually and put into lunches or snack etc. Enjoy