|big container of mandatory granola bars!!|
So here are the improvements I've made to my original recipe:
- Instead of pecans, I prefer sliced almonds. Not only are they lower in calories/fat/saturated fat and higher in fiber/protein/calcium/iron, they're also cheaper and pre-sliced (how I buy them at Sam's, anyway). When toasted with the oatmeal and coconut, the almonds impart the most wonderful caramel-y flavor to the bar. Heavenly. I love pecans, but I won't go back to them in this recipe.
- In step 1, when adding the sunflower seeds, I also add the raisins. No need to add raisins after the sticky mixture. Save a step!!
- I exclusively use butter. No Crisco, no margarine. I've made this change in my household in general in order to put less fake food into our bodies, and this bar benefits from that as well.
- A 9x13 pan just doesn't cut it for me. The 11x15 size yields more bars -- thinner bars, yes, but perfect for our preference. They are by no means thin bars!! Still very hearty and chewy.
- Definitely turn the oven down to 300F after toasting the coconut/oatmeal/nut mixture!! Baking the bars at the lower temperature gives them a wonderful chewiness and dries them out less... meaning they won't fall apart as much during cutting and eating.
- ALWAYS refrigerate before cutting, and use the biggest knife you have. The firmer the bar, the cleaner the slice. The longer the knife, the easier to press.