Wow the kids by packing soft, chewy homemade granola bars in their lunchboxes instead of a dry store-bought bar. This recipe is as easy to bake as a dozen cookies—and just as fun for the kids to help with in the kitchen.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Butter an 8- by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
- Toss oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together (if your wheat germ is raw, toss that in now as well. If it's already toasted, you'll add it next) on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. If you're using toasted wheat germ, stir it in now.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Place the butter, honey, coconut sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture.
- Add the bananas, dates, and pineapples (or any of your favorite dried fruits), and stir well.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers with water, and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan.
- Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into squares. Serve at room temperature.