Trail Mix Granola Bars

It has been almost three months since I upgraded my camera and advanced my journey into food photography. I use that term loosely (and with a grin) because I have no business calling myself a food photographer. Its more appropriate to call myself a food lover who takes pictures. Anyway, I have been reflecting a bit about how far this blog has come in the past (almost) two years. I began with a digital camera (with a bit of iphone thrown in) and now I am using my first big-girl DSLR camera. I will admit that there are buttons that still puzzle me and have no idea what they mean. Auto mode (minus flash) is still my go-to setting, and I have just begun to experiment with the editing software that accompanies the camera. Despite my inexperience I am having a blast learning this new skill. I continue to look for resources and tips on other food blogs and can’t express enough gratitude to those who share their expertise.

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Ironically, one of the first recipes on this site was chocolate cherry granola bars. It seems fitting that my nostalgia would lead me to granola bars once more. Starting, maintaining, and adapting a food blog has been both a challenge and a delight. I absolutely love creating recipes, documenting the process, and sharing them with others. For those of you who visit the site regularly, thank you. Your support and presence is a great source of motivation for me. If you are new to the site, I am glad you are here and hope you check back soon. Cheers!

Ingredients

Note: Make the granola bars gluten free by using certified gluten free oats!

  • 1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/2 c. peanut butter (you can use other nut butters too)
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 c. oats
  • 1/4 c. dried blueberries
  • 1/4 c. dried sweet cherries, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 c. sliced almonds
  • 1/4 c. chopped walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

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In a large bowl combine brown sugar, honey, peanut butter, coconut oil, egg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Stir wet ingredients to combine (watch out for the honey that likes to hide at the bottom of the bowl).

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Add oats to the wet ingredient mixture. Next, add the dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate chips.

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Stir well to combine; the goal is for all of the ingredients to be distributed evenly.

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Line a 8×8 baking dish with tinfoil; this will help with the removal process later. Spoon granola bar mixture into the baking dish and spread in an even layer.

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Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and firm. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

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Place the casserole dish in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to make the granola bars easier to slice. Remove the granola bars from the tinfoil and place on a cutting board. Slice into desired portions; wrap individually in plastic wrap for later or serve immediately.

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The “trail mix” theme for these granola bars is a combination of dried fruit, nuts, and chocolate; feel free to substitute any of the add-ins with your favorites!

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I love these granola bars; they are the perfect balance of texture, sweetness, and give a great boost of energy as a mid-afternoon snack!

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Enjoy!

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