Not Your Hippie Mama's Granola Bars
2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 cup sliced or finely chopped unsalted almonds
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup apricots, dried
1/2 cup dried mango, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9×13 pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl combine the oats, coconut and almonds. Pour the ingredients onto a large baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake for 10-13 minutes or until toasted. Once golden brown remove from oven and allow to cool. Lower oven temperature to 300 degrees.
In the meantime using a medium sized saucepan on medium heat combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, salt and vanilla paste. Allow mixture to come to a boil and stir for 1 minute and then remove from the heat.
In the same large bowl used earlier, add the toasted ingredients as well as the wheat germ. Mix together. Pour the butter/honey mixture over the oats and stir till well combined. Add in dried fruits and mix well. Pour into the 9×13 pan. Using damp hands press granola till flat in pan. Place into oven and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2-3 hours before cutting. Cut into squares.