There are plenty of granola bars on the market, but there is no reason you cannot make your own and take control of the ingredients. This recipe can be adjusted to fit your tastes -- do not feel the pressure to make this exactly the way I wrote it.
I used maple syrup (because syrup is my favorite, like Elf), but you can use honey or even agave syrup instead. If you use honey, be sure to heat it in the microwave for 30 seconds before using. This helps it bind the oats and other ingredients together.
These bars have a tendency to get crumbly when baked too long. If you want a softer granola bar, bake it for less time (20-25 minutes).
Coconut Granola Bars
Yield: 1 9x13 pan (about 12 bars)
*If using honey, microwave it on high for 30 seconds right before using.
Preheat oven to 325ºF. Line a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Lightly oil the parchment paper. Set aside.
Place the rolled oats in a bowl and toss with the 2 tablespoons of oil. Spread the oats onto a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven and put the oats into the bowl of a food processor. Reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF.
Add the coconut, nuts, dried fruit, sunflower seeds, flax seed, cinnamon, and salt to the oats. Pulse 10-15 times to chop up and mix the ingredients together. Pour into a mixing bowl. Stir in the maple syrup (or warmed honey) and vanilla. Mix well to thoroughly coat the mixture with the syrup.
Spread the mixture into the the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. While still warm, cut the mixture into bars. Allow to cool completely. Store in airtight container for up to 1 week.