Crunchy/Chewy Granola Bars

http://mykitchenadventures1.blogspot.com/2012/11/crunchychewy-granola-bars.html

Servings - 12    Serving Size - 1 bar    Points Plus per Serving - 5 Points+
Calories - 183.4,   Total Fat - 8.4g,   Carb. - 27g,   Protein - 3.2g,   Fiber - 3.1g

2 cups Old Fashioned Oats (do not use quick cooking)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup raw sunflower kernels (seeds)
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
1/4 cup roughly chopped nuts of your choice (I used pecans)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 cup honey
2 TBS coconut oil
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt (you can omit, but it is nice to have it to balance the sweetness of the honey)
1/2 cup dried fruit of your choice (I used dried blueberries)


1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Pour oats onto a dry baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 - 12 minutes.  Remove and set aside.  Line an 11 x 7" pan ( brownie/biscuit pan) with parchment paper so the parchment extends over the side of the pan.  Spray inside of pan, liberally with cooking spray. 
2.  In large bowl, mix together the toasted oats, ground flax, sunflower kernels, coconut, nuts, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and dried fruit.  
3.  In small to med sized sauce pan, combine the honey and coconut oil.  Cook over heat.  When the mixture starts to bubble up, reduce heat to keep it gently bubbling.   Let it bubble for 10 - 12 minutes, or until the mixture turns a golden color.  ( it will start of pale and increase color as it bubbles)  Basically, you are cooking this mixture to somewhere between hard ball and soft ball consistency...like when you make candy.  If you go too far, you will get bars that are dry and very hard.  If you don't go far enough, they will be soft and fall apart.  This step is the KEY! 
4.  Remove honey mixture from heat and add in the vanilla and salt.  Stir to combine.  Pour the honey mixture onto the oat mixture and fold in well, until everything is covered in the honey mixture. 
5.  Pour mixture into prepared baking pan, and press down HARD.  As hard as you can (I use a cup sized measuring cup to press with).  Put into a 350 degrees F oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove and allow to cool in pan for 20 minutes.  Mixture will seem soft but will harden as it cools. 
6. Remove the bars with the extended parchment and allow to cool completely.  Cut into 12 bars.  


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