Some of my earliest childhood memories involved loading up musty camping gear into our old green Travel-all and several of our favorite 8 track tapes for family road trips. Mom always packed a bag of snacks for the ride.
Those were the days before high fructose corn syrup and partially hydrogenated oil were part of our vocabulary. She made up individual sandwich baggies of trail mix and dried fruit and I remember the taste of her homemade fruit leather from our area’s farm fresh produce.
Today, convenience often trumps healthy alternatives. Being able to rip open a foil pouch is easier than making something from scratch, but here is a recipe that is easy…and can be made ahead for a quick ‘grab and go’ snack for families on the run like ours.
I tried several different recipes before I found one that I knew my kids would love. Baking the first five ingredients made a huge difference in how the bars turned out.
2 cups old fashioned oats
3/4 cup sliced almonds
¼ cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
1 cup shreddedunsweetened coconut
1/2 cup flax seed meal or wheat germ
3 Tbs butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped pitted dates…or other dried fruit.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 x12 baking dish and line with parchment paper.
Toss the first five ingredients into a bowl to mix and then put on baking sheet (cookie sheet). Put into oven and bake for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer mix back to large bowl.
Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.
In a small saucepan add next 6 ingredients. Cook over medium heat until boiling. Stir for one minute and then remove from heat. Pour over oat and coconut mixture in the bowl.
Add dried fruit and continue mixing until evenly coated.
Pour into prepared pan. Wet fingers and lightly press the mixture into pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.
Cool for 2 hours before cutting into bars. Place in airtight container.
Additional note.. I am looking forward to trying a few variations such as adding peanut butter and nutmeg. These bars are hearty enough to eat for breakfast!
From my kitchen to yours….ENJOY!!