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Back to School GRANOLA BARS!
(adapted from Mary Molina’s Lola’s Bars)

2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup whole raw almonds, coarsely chopped
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
¼ cup golden flax seed meal
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/3 cup dried cranberries, or chopped pitted dates
½ cup light flavored honey, like clover or wildflower
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Make the granola bars:
        Place the oven rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat an 11” x 7” baking pan ( I used a Pyrex glass dish) with oil or cooking spray, line with parchment and spray again with oil.
        In a medium size bowl add the seeds, nuts, coconut, flax meal, cinnamon and salt. Toss to combine. Evenly spread the mixture onto a dry rimmed baking sheet and bake for about 12 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant. Put back in the medium size bowl with the dried cranberries.
        In a small size heavy saucepan, combine the honey, coconut oil and vanilla. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, and cook until the honey becomes a copper color, about 7-8 minutes. Make sure to watch at the end of the cooking time.
        While the honey is cooking, make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the hot honey mixture into the center of the bowl and stir to completely coat. Be careful! The mixture will be very hot!
        Evenly spread the mixture into the pan and press firmly. Bake for 8-10 minutes. It will still be a little sticky in the middle. Cool for 20 minutes, no longer, turn out onto a cutting board, remove parchment paper and cut into bars with a sharp knife. Let cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Makes 16 bars (3” x 1 “).      YUM!

LESSONS Learned:
1. Keep an eye on the dry ingredients at the end of the baking time so they don’t get too brown.
2. Coat the measuring cup for the honey with cooking spray or oil will keep it from sticking.
3. This is an excellent granola too! Instead of pressing it into the pan, crumble it evenly and bake for the same 10 minutes.
4. Stirring ¼ cup peanut butter to the boiled honey is a fun addition.