A while back I tried making granola bars using Ina Garten’s recipe and they were a semi-fail. We ate a few, but they were messy and fell apart and the taste, while not “bad” was just not…great. I ended up throwing out at least half the batch.
Part of the issue was that I didn’t have all of the correct ingredients on hand and I tried to “make do” with too many crucial parts missing. I didn’t have the wheat germ, the coconut or the brown sugar. I subbed out the fruit and the nuts, which is no big deal, but I also added chocolate chips which of course promptly melted as soon as they hit the toasted oats and recently boiled honey and butter mixture (sometimes it is very evident that I guessed my way through most of high school science). So while sometimes it’s okay to try and get by with what you have, it’s just as often advisable to wait until you have the proper ingredients.
I made them again last night and they turned out so much better. For one thing they actually hold “bar” form which is a huge improvement. The coconut and brown sugar are good binding agents (and you can’t really taste the coconut, if that is the kind of thing that bothers you) and the wheat germ lends a nutty taste.
Once again I subbed the fruit although I did use sliced almonds as called for. Last time I used toasted pecans, so you could do that too. Peanuts would probably also work. Instead of dates, apricots and cranberries in the whole batch, I split the batch in two and used raisins in one half and sun-dried cherries and dark chocolate mini-chunks in the other half.
Both turned out pretty gloriously.
I was out of parchment so I just generously buttered both baking dishes and while it wasn’t too terrible getting the bars out, I would highly recommend parchment. Just makes it that much easier.