Granola Bars

2 cups oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pepita seeds
1 1/2 cups dried fruit, well chopped (I used mango and cranberries)
3/4 cup rice krispie cereal
1/4 cup flax meal
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup maple/agave blend (or just pure agave or pure maple syrup)
1/3 cup almond butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
Toss the oatmeal, almonds, pepita seeds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flax meal and cereal.
Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
Place the almond butter, maple/agave blend, almond extract, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the chopped dried fruit and stir well.
Pour the mixture into a parchment lined 8x12 baking pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan. Press the mixture well! Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares or bars. Serve at room temperature.

1. Make sure your dried fruit is chopped well to help everything stick together. I put mine in the food processor to make it easier on myself. 
2. Also make sure you stir the wet mixture very well with the dry mixture before pouring into the pan. Use your hands if you find that works better (I did). 
3. Make sure you use slightly wet hands to press this mixture into the pan and pack as tightly as possible.
4. Most important hint- Let cool completely before cutting. I put mine in the fridge for 30 minutes and then the freezer for 30 minutes, so I didn't have to wait 3 hours for them to cool.