Homemade granola bars can be crumbly, overly sugary, or gritty. Here, we defeat the usual pitfalls by combining tart dried cherries, rich dark-chocolate chips, oats, wheat germ, honey, and oil to make a batter that forms thick, firm bars. Pack them in lunch boxes and save one for your morning latte.
|1½||cups slivered almonds|
|1½||cups dried tart cherries|
|1½||cups old-fashioned rolled oats|
|½||cup wheat germ|
|¼||cup canola oil|
|1||teaspoon vanilla extract|
|⅔||cup dark-chocolate chips|
1. Set the oven at 350 degrees. Have on hand a rimmed baking sheet and a 9-inch square pan. Line the square pan with parchment paper so the paper comes above the edges by at least 1 inch.
2. On the baking sheet, spread almonds in one layer. Bake for 7 minutes, turning once or twice, or until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Leave the oven on.
3. In a food processor, combine the cherries and almonds. Pulse until the almonds are chopped but not powdered.
4. In a large bowl, combine the cherry mixture with the oats, flour, wheat germ, and salt.
5. Add the oil, honey, vanilla, and chips, stirring with a rubber spatula until fully incorporated. Transfer the batter to the pan, pressing it evenly with the spatula.
6. Bake the bars for 40 minutes or until the center is firm when pressed with a fingertip and the edges begin to brown. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely.
7. Using the parchment ends as handles, lift the bars from the pan and transfer to a board. Cut the square in half, then make 5 horizontal cuts on each rectangle to form 12 bars.