As the kids head back to school, these chewy granola bars are great to have on your baking menu. It’s a perfect make-ahead snack and travels well.
A quick note: Don’t use quick, instant, or extra-thick rolled oats in this recipe. Rolled oats (also called old-fashioned or regular oats) are whole oats that have been steamed and then rolled. If these same oats are rolled very thinly, they are called quick oats because they cook, well, more quickly. Instant oats are cooked and then dehydrated, so they don’t need any more cooking, just hot water.
Chewy Granola Bars With Cranberries and Walnuts
Makes 12 bars
- 3/4 cup walnuts
- 1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup Rice Krispies cereal
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Make an aluminum foil sling for an 8-inch square metal baking pan. Spray foil with vegetable oil spray.
In a food processor, pulse walnuts until finely chopped, about 10 1-second pulses. Transfer walnuts to a rimmed baking sheet. Add oats and sunflower seeds to the baking sheet and spread into an even layer. Bake until oats are lightly browned, about 12 minutes.
Place baking sheet on a cooling rack and let cool for 10 minutes. While the oat mixture is cooling, reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine oil and water in a liquid measuring cup. Add apricots, brown sugar, and salt to the food processor and process until apricots are very finely ground, about 15 seconds. With the processor running, pour the oil mixture through the feed tube and process until a paste forms, about 1 minute.
Transfer apricot paste to a large bowl. Add the cooled oat mixture and stir until oats are well coated with apricot paste. Add cereal and cranberries and gently stir until evenly combined.
Scrape mixture into the foil-lined baking pan and spread into an even layer. Use the bottom of a dry measuring cup to press down VERY firmly (especially at edges and corners) until smooth and flat. Bake until granola is brown at edges, about 25 minutes.
Transfer baking pan to a cooling rack and let the granola bars cool completely in the pan, about 2 hours. Use foil to lift bars out of the baking pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bars and serve.