your point of concentration

Do you want to concentrate on the hazelnuts?Or, do you want to concentrate on the Nutella?Either way, these two ingredients and a few other healthy additions yield a delicious granola bar.
I’ve been testing granola bar recipes. The first recipe I tried was a huge hit with the work crew, but the bars crumbled too easily. You can find the original Barefoot Contessa recipe here. And, you can find another version here at Smitten Kitchen. I made a few substitutions based on the ingredients in my pantry.

The bars pictured above were my second attempt. They cut beautifully, and did not crumble as I nibbled on the healthy goodness.
Fresh Market and Whole Foods have isles of ingredients just waiting to be made into granola bars. I can’t wait to try many more combinations.
Listed below is my latest version of the Barefoot Contessa/Smitten Kitchen granola bar recipe. I have decided that honey works better than maple syrup. And, a Nutella type ingredient (i.e. peanut butter/ nut butters) aids in the texture creation , holding the bars together, and cutting the bars.

This recipe makes about 16 granola bars. I baked the mixture in 2 – 8.5 x 5 loaf pans. Be sure to press the mixture into the pans really well (even roll over the ingredients with a small rolling pin). And don’t cut the bars until completely cooled. (I pressed another loaf pan over the baked bars and allowed them to cool overnight before cutting.)

GRANOLA BARS

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup sliced almonds (any combination of nuts; I used 2 c. hazelnuts, skins included)

1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed (I used 1/2 sweetened & 1/2 unsweetened)

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ (I used bran cereal)

¼ cup brown sugar

2/3 cup honey

1/4 cup Nutella

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 1/2 cup dried fruit, or a mix of dried fruit (I used dates with the hazelnuts)

I added a few chocolate chips (about 1/4c.) to one pan of the granola bars before baking.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Toss the oatmeal, nuts, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. (Watch the sweetened coconut; it browns quickly.) Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the brown sugar/honey/Nutella (I heated these slightly to melt.) Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.

Add all other ingredients.

Pour the mixture into your prepared baking pans and press it in the pans until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible. (Parchment paper placed inside the pan [before you add the granola mixture] and extended over the sides will aid in removing the full bar from the pan prior to cutting. – Butter the parchment paper.)

Bake for 25 minutes, until light golden brown.

Cool for 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares — your best serrated knife is great for this. ( I let mine cool overnight before cutting)

You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature for a week or two, as you would cookies, or store them in the freezer. They should remain crisp frozen, as all granola tends to soften at room temperature after a day or more.