cupOptional - 1/4 nuts such as walnutsalmonds or pecans
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
Spread oats (and nuts if using) onto a large cookie sheet and place in the oven for eight minutes to lightly toast. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire cooling rack for at least 15 minutes. Turn off oven, no further baking is required.
In a heavy pan combine honey, butter, brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Stir over medium heat until butter melts, sugar dissolves and mixture comes together. Remove from heat and allow to cool at least ten minutes.
Once oats and liquid mixture have cooled slightly, place both in a bowl and stir well to combine. Once combined stir in dried fruit, chocolate chips and nuts.
Press mixture into an 8x8 or 9x9 pan that has been lined with foil or parchment paper and sprayed lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Once mixture is in pan, press mixture down firmly. Using a piece of parchment paper between your hands and the mixture will help keep it from sticking. It's important to makes sure you do this step, otherwise your granola bars will not stay together very well.
Place pan in fridge and chill for at least four hours. Remove from fridge, remove bars from pan and parchment paper/foil, and cut into 12 pieces. Bars can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week.
Mini chocolate chips work great in these. You can also add dried fruits such as raisins or raisins, as well as nuts such as chopped walnuts, pecans, almonds or peanuts.