Homemade Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa and tea are my idea of a great gift

…because that is how I roll. Here’s the scoop – Pragmatic Mom and I brainstormed (translation – got all sugared and hopped up on coffee at L’Aroma) the other day and decided to help out with the 12 Days of Shopping for those hard to find/fit/figure out people on your list – pretty much everyone and you are welcome! It started out as five days but Pragmatic Mom scheduled it out and it is now twelve. Added bonus for you – good thing she takes great notes and is super-organized! See Pragmatic Mom‘s post here about Nigella Lawson’s granola – really delicious, and from what I have been told, a coveted teacher gift.

If you don’t believe that a granola bar can be absolutely delicious then you have clearly not tried these.  Let’s be blunt, I like anything chocolate and donuts  so I am no healthy dessert person but these are fabulous – and there is no chocolate in them – go figure!

I give them stacked in a plain brown coffee bag (from The Container Store) or in clear cellophane bags (Container Store, Target) or even in a Holiday Tumbler like this one from Target. holiday tumbler from Target makes great gift holder for granola bars or cookies an dtea If you want to add a fun simple craft project, have your children decorate the bags with stickers or crayon drawings. Truly charming. This is a favorite gift if you are going to a friend’s house for coffee, for a teacher gift or to have on hand for a last-minute gift.

capability mom thinks that tazo teas with homemade treats make a wonderful hostess or teacher giftI pick up boxes of my favorite tea (usually TAZO) but there are tons of great teas to choose from – include some of your favorites. L’Aroma Cafe is my go-to for tea and tea related presents.  Don’t worry if the intended recipient isn’t a “tea person” – it is the holiday season and it is always nice to on hand for an unexpected get-together or drop-in guests! capability mom fills these 1/2 lb coffee bags with delicious treats for holiday gifts like granola bar (homemade, of course) and assorted teas.\ Barefoot Contessa Granola Bars an dTeas from TAZO are particular favorites.

Homemade Granola Bars from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, 2008, All Rights Reserved

Ingredients

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

1 cup sliced almonds (use what you like – my family does not care for coconut so that is out for them – I have substituted nuts and dried fruit for what is on hand – still lovely)

1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper.

Homemade Granola Bars

2008, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, All Rights Reserved

Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the wheat germ. (I have also added flax seed or anything else that I like – sesame seeds, poppy seeds – it’s all good).

Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.

Place the butter, honey, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium
heat. Cook and stir for a minute, then pour over the toasted oatmeal mixture. Add the dates, apricots, and
cranberries and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press the mixture evenly into the pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for at least 2 to 3 hours before cutting into
squares. Serve at room temperature.

Copyright 2010 Television Food Network G.P., All Rights Reserved
Check in for more ideas:

Sat, Dec 11:  Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

Sun, Dec 12: Personalized Gifts

Mon, Dec 13:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

Tue, Dec 14:  Tutors/Teachers

Wed, Dec 15:  High Tech/Low Tech

Thu, Dec 16:  Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

Fri, Dec 17:  Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer

Sat, Dec 18:  Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List)

Sun, Dec 19:  Dog/Cat

Mon, Dec 20:  Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

Tue, Dec 21:  ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts

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