First, and most predictable, is that it tastes amazing. The crunch, the sweetness, the chewiness from a bit of dried fruit – it just all works.
Second, I have made this recipe for a few memorable brunches, and something as simple as home-made granola can really top off an otherwise already-awesome gathering.
Third, I pretend it’s healthy because of the oats and nuts. Let’s face it – it’s not “healthy,” but as with most treats, I prefer to know what is going in to my food and be able to control it.
Fourth, it is made from ingredients I always have on hand – and you know how I feel about that.
And last, but not least, is where the recipe originated. Throughout the past decade, I have had several friends deployed overseas with the U.S. military. I have sent them care packages from time to time – it is the least I can do to thank them for their service and sacrifice! – and I was on the lookout for recipes that would ship well, and last in desert heat. Unfortunately the recipe is not available online in its original form any longer – a good reminder to download actual recipes instead of just saving links! – but it had instructions on how to best package treats to send to troops overseas; the original title of the recipe was “Freedom Power Bars.” So this recipe is kind of a sign of the times for me.
– 2 c oats (quick or rolled)
– 1 c chopped or sliced nuts (I have used sliced almonds exclusively for my last few batches, but all nuts work)
– 5 T butter
– 1/2 c dark brown sugar, measure when packed
– 1/4 c honey
– 1 c chopped graham crackers (about 3 rectangle boards)
– up to 1/2 c dried fruit (I often use only dried cranberries, but dried blueberries or chopped dried cherries are also delicious)
– I think this would be delicious with chocolate chips and/or cinnamon, but I have not tried that yet – let me know if you do!
How do I make it?
- Line an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with release foil (release side up!).
- In a 350 degree oven, toast the oats and nuts on a cookie sheet for about 10 minutes (until it starts to brown and be fragrant).
- Place the chopped graham crackers in a large bowl, and when the oats and nuts are toasted, add them as well.
- Meanwhile, in large saucepan, bring to a boil the butter, brown sugar, and honey. When the sugar is dissolved in the butter and honey, pour the mixture on top of the items in the large bowl.
- Carefully mix it all together, using a silicone spatula.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing down with a spatula or another piece of release foil (release side down!).
- Add the dried fruit, and mix again.
- Bake 20 minutes.
- After it cools a bit, press mixture down again (this makes it easier to cut).
- Let it cool, lift out of pan, slide the block of granola off the foil onto a cutting board, and cut into bars or squares with serrated knife (or just kind of hack at it to crumble).
- Try not to eat the whole thing immediately.
Shout-out to ARB for reminding me about this one!