April 5, 2013

Granola Bars with Almonds, Chocolate, and Dried Cranberries from USA Weekend

2 cups rolled oats
½ cup wheat germ
1 cup sliced almonds
½ cup of semisweet or bittersweet chips or chunks (about 3 ounces)
½ cup dried cranberries or cherries
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9-inch baking pan with vegetable cooking spray. For bars’ easy removal line the pan, from bottom up to the sides with a 9-by-18-inch strip of heavy-duty foil, or baking parchment paper. Grease foil with vegetable cooking spray.

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl. Turn into prepared pan and pat down until firmly packed.
Bake until golden brown, and about 30 minutes. Cool to  room temperature and put pan in freezer.

When bar is firm, use foil handles to remove the pan. Remove foil and use a long, sharp knife to cut bar into 16 1- by 4-inch bars. Can be stored in an airtight container up to 1 week, or frozen.

Gluten-free variation: Follow recipe above, but instead of wheat germ, use ½ cup rolled oats that have been finely ground in a food processor.

Yield: 16 servings
Per serving: 206 calories, 31g carbohydrates, 5g protein, 8g fat (3g saturated), 8mg cholesterol, 3g fiber, 32mg sodium

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