Chewy Chocolate Oatmeal Granola Bars
Yield: 18 bars (2.3 ounces each)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) margarine, softened
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup (packed) brown Splenda blend
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup (6 ounces) sugar free chocolate chips
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup chopped almonds
½ cup raisins
½ cup sunflower seeds
In a large-size mixing bowl, cream together the margarine, honey, Splenda, and vanilla extract.
Add flour, baking soda, and oats. Stir until well-mixed. (Mixing with clean hands works great for this step.) Mixture will be a soft, fluffy, and somewhat crumbly. Stir in chocolate chips, nuts and raisins. If it appears too dry, add a tablespoon or so of honey.
Press mixture into a lightly-greased 9x13-inch baking dish. Bake at 325 degrees for 18-22 minutes, until edges are just starting to brown. Remove from oven and place dish on wire rack to cool.
After granola bars have cooled for 10 minutes, use a smooth-bottomed measuring cup or glass to press the bars flat. (Pressing while too hot will smear chocolate everywhere!) Allow to finish cooling and then cut into 18 bars using a pizza cutter or thin sharp knife. Store in a sealed container or bag at room temperature for up to a week or so, or freeze for later use.Note: This actually makes wonderful breakfast granola. After baking, simply crumble up instead of cutting. Yummy with milk!
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