Tophat

Granola Chunks

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By Kelley Redmon

Summer is fast approaching folks!  With the need to kick up the beach body in high gear I have been looking for healthier snacking options (I admit that I have a slight Goldfish Cracker addiction). What I love about this recipe is its versatility.  I can add things, take things out, dip it in chocolate, throw it in yogurt, make for a road trip snack… the possibilities are endless!  It took me a long time to find a combo I really liked but this one by Pioneer Woman was perfect!

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Ingredients:
6 cups Rolled Oats (not Quick Oats)
4 Tablespoons Butter, Melted, Plus More For Greasing
1/4 cup Vegetable Or Canola Oil
1 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Honey
1/4 cup Apple Juice
1/4 cup Molasses
3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 cups Rice Krispies
1 cup Ground Flax Seed
1 cup Finely Chopped Pecans
2 cups Roughly Chopped Almonds
2 cups dried cherries
1/2 cup of coconut shreds

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a bowl, toss the oats with the canola oil, melted butter and salt.
3. Spread the mixture out on 2 baking sheets and toast in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, shaking the pan twice and making sure they don’t burn.
4. Remove from the oven and set aside.
5. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F.
6. In a medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar, honey, apple juice and molasses (making a gooey, sticky mass)
7. Heat the mixture slowly, stirring until all combined.
8. Stir in the vanilla.
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9. Toss together the toasted oats, rice cereal, flax-seed, cranberries, coconut, pecans and almonds.
10. Pour in the sugar mixture, stirring as you pour to make sure to coat everything in the bowl. This will be sticky and messy… get your hands and there and have fun!
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11. Press into 1 baking sheet (thoroughly greased with butter, or line pan with foil and grease foil) and bake until golden, about 20-25 minutes. Note: It will still be soft and sticky.  DO NOT over cook.  You will realize you made a mistake when you think its perfect…. but the bottom will be burnt when you go to break them up.  A sad, sad moment…
12. Remove from oven and let cool.
13. Break apart in to little bite size pieces
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