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Breakfast bars

September 2, 2009

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Makes 30 large bars When your kids are on the run and don’t have time for breakfast, hand them one of these bars. They’ve got oatmeal, walnuts, almonds, coconut, plenty of dried fruits, and taste like oatmeal cookies without too much sweetness. The bars store well and can be frozen.

Butter (for the pan)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups old-fashioned (not quick-cooking) oats
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup snipped pitted dates
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Butter an 11-by-16-inch jellyroll pan. Have on hand a 12-inch sheet of foil.

2. In an electric mixer, combine the butter, oil, and sugar. Stir until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the eggs, vanilla, and honey until thoroughly combined.

3. Add the flour, baking soda mixture, and salt. Stir well until the flour mixture is moist. Beat in the oats, coconut, raisins, dates, cranberries, walnuts, and almonds.

4. Have a bowl of cold water nearby. Tip the batter into the pan and spread it with a rubber spatula. Then dip your hands into the water and pat the dough to within 3 inches of one short side (so you have a rectangle that is 11 by 13 inches. Roll up the sheet of foil, flatten it to make a 1-inch-wide band, and press the band against the dough on the empty side to keep it in place.

5. Bake the bars for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and firm to the touch.

6. Remove from the oven and set the pan on a rack to cool.

7. Make 4 lengthwise and 5 crosswise cuts to form 30 bars. Wrap them in plastic wrap and store in airtight container. Julie Riven