In my ongoing quest to find tasty, kid-friendly food appropriate for the whole family, this week I chose a healthy granola bar, perfect for an afternoon snack. I found the recipe in "Edible DIY: Simple, Giftable Recipes to Savor and Share," by Lucy Baker (Running Press; $19).
Pecan Granola Bars
(makes 24 bars)
-2 cups rolled oats
-1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
-1 cup pecans, chopped
-1 1/2 cup raisin
-1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
-1 cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour
-3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
-3/4 cup packed brown sugar
-1/4 cup honey
-1 large egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, coconut, pecans, raisins and dried apricots. In a separate small bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar and honey. Beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and the vanilla extract, and beat until incorporated.
4. Gradually beat the flour mixture into the butter mixture just until combined. Stir in the oat mixture with a wooden spoon.
5. Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Bake until the top is golden and the edges are lightly brown, about 25 minutes. The bars will be very soft straight from the oven, but will firm up as they cool. Cool them completely on a wire rack, then cut into bars. They will keep for up to 10 days stored in an airtight container at room temperature.
Note: Feel free to play around with the dried fruit and nuts, for example use dried strawberries and peanuts, dried cherries and almonds or dried figs and walnuts. Omit the nuts if your child is allergic to them.