Ok, I exaggerated a bit. This recipe did call for cutesy ingredients such as coconut oil, almond butter, trail mix and rice syrup. Of those, I only had the almond butter, and I was trying to get rid of it since it's kind of old. The same goes for of my dried fruit and nuts, which took the place of the trail mix. Anyway, although some ingredients were random, it was amenable to substitution. Here is the modified recipe. I recommend trying to get the overall wet-fat-sugar-dry proportions fairly close but using whatever you have in house or like. I imagine they would be quite tasty with peanut butter instead of almond. If you add chocolate, watch them more carefully so they don't burn or melt too much.
Old Biddy's Clean Out the Cupboards Granola Bars
INGREDIENTS4 cups rolled oats
1 cup raw sliced almonds
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut (optional - I had it but forgot to add it)
1 cup dried fruit and nut trail mix (or just use a total of 1 cup of what you have in house)
¾ cup dried cranberries, cherries, or blueberries
½ cup butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup almond butter
½ cup syrup (I used a combination of corn syrup and maple syrup)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
½ tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
INSTRUCTIONS1. Preheat oven to 350° with a rack in the middle position. Line an oiled 13" by 9" pan with parchment and set aside. Mix oats, almonds, coconut, trail mix, spices and dried berries in a large mixing bowl.
2. Combine butter, brown sugar, almond butter and syrup in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until dissolved, 3–4 minutes. Stir in vanilla and salt, and pour over oat mixture, tossing well to combine.
3. Pour the granola mixture evenly into prepared pan and press into an even, firmly packed layer using a sheet of waxed paper or plastic wrap. Remove wrap and bake 20–30 minutes until lightly golden and fragrant. Remove from oven and allow granola to cool completely before cutting into 12 bars. Wrap bars in wax or parchment paper and store in an airtight container for up to three weeks.
They were easy to make and I didn't encounter any weird surprises. If you have little kids who want to help, this is a good recipe for them, although the dough isn't as tasty as cookie dough. Definitely press down on the dough before baking to pack it in well.
I let them cool most of the way and then cut them into 24 squares. In the morning I ate one for breakfast. It had good flavor and texture - just the right amount of sugar so that it worked as a breakfast bar but was sweet enough to eat as a treat. I took them in to work for the graduate students. They ate them. They're an easy crowd.