Better than any granola bars you can buy, these are quick and easy to press into the pan, and loaded with dried fruit and nuts. (The crunchy, glazed coating might remind you of Cracker Jacks.)
1cup coarse-chopped salted dry-roasted peanuts
⅓cup chopped dates
⅓cup chopped dried apricots
⅔cupcoconut, sweetened or unsweetened
6tablespoons (¾stick) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
3tablespoons light corn syrup
1teaspoonpure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9 × 13-inch baking pan with foil, pressing to coat the bottom and sides of the pan smoothly. Rub the foil with a light coating of vegetable oil; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the granola, peanuts, raisins, dates, apricots, coconut, and wheat germ. Heat the butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and honey in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Add this mixture to the mixing bowl, and stir with a wooden spoon until the ingredients are well combined. Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan, flattening the surface evenly with a palm dampened in cold water.
Bake20 minutes. Place the baking pan on a wire rack to cool. When the mixture has cooled completely, invert the pan onto a cutting surface; then carefully peel off the foil. (Keep it bottom side up, so the shiny glazed bottom becomes the top.) Let the mixture stand at cool room temperature for an hour or two, to set the glaze. Pressing straight down with a large sharp knife, cut the mixture into three lengths 3 × 13inches, and then cut each of these into 9pieces3 × 1½inches. You should have twenty-seven 3 × 1½-inch bars. Store airtight. For lunchboxes or mailing, wrap the granola bars individually in plastic wrap, foil, or cellophane.