Post-Consumer Pantry: Good vs. evil granola bars

We all have food devils and food angels hovering on our shoulders. Chocolate? Yes please! Wheat germ? Maybe tomorrow? Granola bars fall squarely in the good-to-be-bad category. All it takes is the word "granola" to turn chocolate and coconut into health food. And there's nothing wrong with that. Sometimes you need an excuse to eat something sweet with no guilt.

In that spirit, Post-Consumer Pantry offers two granola bar recipes, one with wheat germ and no refined sugar and the other with dark chocolate, cherry and coconut. If you've just returned from a morning run, grab a wholesome breakfast that fits in your hand. Or indulge in a dessert bar when you need a sweet way to feel good about yourself. There's no need to spend $3 a pop on a granola bar that's loaded with high-fructose corn syrup and a litany of preservatives you can't pronounce. Just whip up a batch at home on a quiet Sunday afternoon and enjoy a healthy (or not-so-healthy) snack all week long.

Angel bars: Honey, Fruit and Nuts

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tbs butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (see last month's column to make your own!)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped dried dates
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12-inch baking dish.
Spread oatmeal, almonds and coconut on a cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, stiring occasionally.
Pour oat mixture into a large mixing bowl and add wheat germ.
Reduce oven to 300 degrees.
Melt butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Pour over toasted oatmeal mixture.
Add dried fruit and stir.
Pour into pan and pat down with spatula.
Bake 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into rectangles.

Devil bars: Dark Chocolate Cherry

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup flour
3/4 cups brown sugar (packed)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 stick of butter, melted
1/2 cup honey
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9×9 pan.
Mix oats, flour, brown sugar, salt, cherries, almonds, coconut and chocolate chips.
In a separate bowl, mix butter, honey and vanilla.
Combine and pour into pan and use a spatula to pat it down.
Bake 25-30 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into rectangles.

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