I grew up on those Nature Valley granola bars that are so addictive. Problem is, the ingredients leave much to be desired. I developed this recipe to eat in their place, and these have become a constant in our after school snack repertoire.
Heat oven to 350°F. Cut a 16×12-inch piece of parchment paper in half longways. You will have two long pieces of parchment that you can lay in your baking pan to make a cradle for lifting out the finished bars out. Use some of the melted butter to grease an 8×8-inch square baking pan and line with the two pieces of parchment, crossing one over the other so there is overhang on every side. Grease the parchment as well. Although not totally necessary, it’s also a good idea to clip the sides in place using some of these.
Spread out the dry oats on a half sheet pan and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes until the oats start to smell malty and wonderful. Remove and let cool.
In a medium bowl, mix the nut butter, sugar, honey and egg together until smooth. Add the remaining butter and continue to mix until homogeneous. Add the cooled oats, coconut, chopped nuts and chocolate chips and mix together until there are no clumps of any one ingredient hovering in the corner of the bowl.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking pan and smooth with the back of the spoon, kind of pressing down as you go. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges start to brown and pull away from the sides of the pan. Pull out and cool in the pan for about 30 minutes, then lift the bars out and allow to cool completely before cutting. Slice into 12 to 16 pieces and store in an airtight container for up to a week, but I’m guessing they will be gone long before then. Savor with delight and gratitude.