These are simple to make, and you can decide what goes inside! Have fun with different kinds of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.
2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup whole almonds, roughly chopped
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried golden raisins, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips, plus more for top
Heat oven to 350° F. Line the bottom of a nine-inch square pan with parchment paper. Then lightly spray the parchment with cooking spray.
Combine the oats and roughly chopped almonds on a small baking sheet then bake for seven to 10 minutes until lightly toasted. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl.
While the oats are toasting, combine the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract, salt, and any spices (if using) in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the butter melts and the sugar completely dissolves, making sure to stir occasionally. Pour the butter mixture over the toasted oats and almonds and add the cranberries and golden raisins. Mix well and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Then add the chocolate chips and stir once more to combine.
Transfer the oat mixture to the prepared pan. Using a rubber spatula or slightly wet hands, firmly press the mixture into the pan until the mixture is in a uniform layer. Scatter remaining a few extra tablespoons of mini chocolate chips over the granola bars and use the same rubber spatula to gently press them into the granola so they stick. Transfer the entire pan to the refrigerator and chill for two hours.
After the granola has cooled completely, gently lift it out of the pan using the parchment paper as handles and cut it into squares or bars. Serve as needed. Enjoy!