Yield: 1 (13×9-inch) container
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats, toasted*
1½ cups toasted, salted almonds
1 packed cup roughly chopped dates
¾ packed cup dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup toasted, salted sunflower seeds
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, then preheat the oven to 300ºF.
*Place oats (evenly spread) on a sheet tray and transfer to the oven until lightly toasted, approximately 15 minutes
Create a foil sling (for easy removal of the granola bars) to fit into a 9×13-inch pan. Lightly spray the foil with nonstick spray.
Add almonds to a food processor with the blade attachment and process until very finely chopped. (No visual chunks remaining)
Transfer processed almonds to a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
Add dates, brown sugar and salt to the food processor (no need to clean it out) and process until the dates are finely chopped. With the processor running, stream in the vanilla extract, water and melted butter. Process until a smooth thick paste is formed. Set aside.
Add the toasted oats, cranberries, sunflower seeds and shredded coconut to the large mixing bowl that contains the processed almonds. Stir to combine. Add the date paste (be sure to scrape the bowl and blade of the food processor to get every last drop!) to the bowl. Mix ingredients thoroughly using your hands, squeezing and folding the mixture to ensure it’s thoroughly combined.
Evenly distribute the granola mixture into the prepared pan. Press down the mixture to make sure it’s compact and evenly distributed. Transfer to oven and bake for 25 minutes. It will be very lightly toasted.
Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 1 hour so the mixture can firm up.
Once cool, transfer the granola bar to a cutting board and cut into squares and enjoy!