Sticky Honey Granola Bars

3 years ago i spent the summer in New Zealand for my own personal satisfaction of doing every single thing the contestants from the previous ‘Bachelor’ had done (you would too if you saw it). Oh, and modeling.

I left Utah wondering what i was going going to do on a plane for 26 hours (lies). I was accompanied by another model, Briann; I didn’t know her that well but she sure had a lot of spunk for a model that was only 5’7 and 17 years old. She informed me that we would not be spending 26 hours on the plane but a mere 14 and if i wanted to count the 9 hour layover at LAX as ‘hell time’ it’d be okay with her. Thank goodness she knew about this international travel business. Bon Voyage!

When we landed in New Zealand we went through customs and were grilled by two officers who seriously doubted that we were only students (our work visa’s hadn’t arrived yet). Somehow, using my old blonde student i.d. we passed their tests and got out of the airport ASAP. When we arrived at our respective apartments it was apparent that i was to be living with 3 boys–not cool– and Brianne with a lovely make up artist and her boyfriend. I was a more than a little peeved and Brianne offered to switch with me; i was in no position to argue and accepted. Thank goodness for this girl, things were beginning to look up.

The weeks went by without a gym pass, car, phone, or a reasonable internet connection. I cried a lot, worked a lot, and walked A LOT. For instance, if i had a job at 7 a.m., 10 miles away, I would wake up at 5 a.m., walk 2 hours, do the job and then repeat the cycle –backwards and in the dark (no worries, i had mase). To be young and so dumb; I don’t think there’s a single atom in my brain that would allow me to do that today.
I needed food, yummy, fresh, tasty FOOD. I found it x10. I found unbelievable carrots, apples, (if you ever go there please taste their produce and you’ll know why I rave about a carrot and apple) and granola bars -i.e. a healthy persons candy bar.

New Zealand sells these granola bars called ‘Tasti’, and they are TASTY. So tasty that when i left NZ (2 ish months later) i brought 4 boxes with and wrote the company asking if they would please help with my depression and accept my offer of distributing in the US from the back of my Chevy.  Sadly, they declined my offer and i was left to find my own remedy and replacement for ‘Tasti’ granola bars. So sweet, chewy, salty, la la la la i’m day dreaming now.

with no further ado… 

Sticky Honey Granola Bars


  • 2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, loosely packed
  • 1/2 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


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8 by 12-inch baking dish and line it with parchment paper. 
  2. 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.
  3. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  4. 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.
  5. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Wet your fingers and lightly press into the pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes and allow to cool for 20 minutes before cutting and wrapping the bars.
Bake at a Low Temperature: granola from the store has a weird white color to it… the beauty of homemade granola is getting that perfectly golden color that when baked at a low temperature in the oven for 30-45 minutes gives it a crunchy and deep flavor.
Make it Clustered: Honey bunches of oats had it right when it created the Just Clusters division… we all LOVE clusters… it breaks up the texture and gives our tongues an entirely new factor to enjoy. To achieve these clusters… add some water to the mixture and squeeze with your hands (mixed with the starchy oats or wheat germ it will create a mortar or glutinous consistency).
Use dry AND wet sweetners… such as honey or agave, molasses, and brown sugar/white sugar.
Pick good quality Oats: Come on people… its the basis of the granola… you can shell out for the quality brand which is probably 1 or 2 dollars more… and pick the Old fashioned oats… vs. the quick cooking-which makes the granola starchy.

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