I am a big Jon and Kate Plus 8 fan, I have been watching ever since I learned about the show soon after Hayden was born. Whenever I thought my day was hard, I could watch the show and regain perspective. This past week, Emeril visited the show and made some amazing looking food for the fam. Since then, I have been recreating the recipes. I started with granola bars, because who doesn't love granola? I made a few changes to fit what I had in my kitchen and they were delicious! Emeril's recipe called for a combination of dates and raisins, I replaced those with dried unsweetened blueberries and then used almond extract instead of vanilla. They were delicious and a big hit with the kiddos at the park! (always a big compliment!)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup honey
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8- or 9- inch square baking pan and line with parchment. Lightly grease the parchment and set aside.
Place the oats and almonds on a large baking sheet and bake, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 300 degrees F.
While the oats are toasting, combine honey and butter in a small saucepan and heat until butter is melted and honey is hot.
When oats come out of the oven, transfer to a large bowl and add hot honey, dates, raisins, brown sugar, salt, and almond extract and stir to thoroughly combine. Transfer mixture to the prepared baking pan.
Cut a piece of wax paper and place on top of the granola mixture. Using your hands, press the granola mixture very firmly into the pan. Remove wax paper and discard.
Bake the granola for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden around the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely. Remove from the pan by pulling up on the edges of the parchment. Using a sharp knife, cut into 10 (or desired number) even bars.
Wrap in plastic wrap until ready to serve.
Yield: 10 to 20 servings, depending on the size of the bars