Kathy’s Trail Mix Crunch Chunks

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Last Spring Break, as we were heading from Wisconsin to Florida, I don’t know if I was more excited about being on the beach or stopping at the grocery store to see if they had any of that delicious, bakery-made granola bark I purchased on our previous year’s visit.  After munching on the first chunk, I immediately had to know how to make it myself.  I Google’d ” Publix Granola Bark” and it became quite obvious that I wasn’t the only one looking for a copy cat recipe.  I tried one recipe that someone said was similar – not even close!  It was a sticky, ewwwy, gooey mess.

Recently, I was craving it again and did more research, hoping that someone out there in cyberspace had created a comparable concoction since I last researched it.  No such luck.  According to the label, which I saved, there is a mystery ingredient- florenta – that you just can’t buy off the shelf  in your local grocery store.  Apparently it’s available in European markets and I found one source here in the states that sold it but I wasn’t about to pay $50 for an eleven pound bag of it. So I Bing’d “florenta” to see if there was a growing demand for this mystery ingredient that’s a combination of a few over-processed ingredients.  One website had a video on how to use the product.  It’s a white, powdery, binding agent that simply gets mixed with your conglomeration of craisins, raisins, nuts and such, then placed in the oven where it mysteriously melts and binds your ingredients into bark.

At one point, the baker mentioned Florentine pastries and how time consuming it was to prepare them using honey, cream and butter.  “Hmm,” I thought to myself, honey, cream and butter… Florentine cookies… those are crispy…that could be my base!”  So I searched and researched Florentine cookie recipes. Excited and energized by my cleverness, I gathered the ingredients like a mad scientist on the verge of discovering the cure for colon cancer (the recipe does have a lot of fiber). 😉  I only hoped that my ratio of Florentine cookie base to trail mix was on track.

I proceeded to mix all my dry ingredients together. Then I prepared the Florentine cookie base.  I mixed the two together and was thrilled to discover that my ratio of dry to molten ingredients was accurate.  I placed it in the oven with a prayer… Dear God, I hope this recipe is the answer to the prayer of those who crave this heavenly snack but don’t live anywhere near the source of their desires. Amen! (Or maybe it was more like, God,  I hope this works cause I really have a taste for it!)

After removing it from the oven, I was thankful for the below freezing Wisconsin weather we were having as I brought it out to the garage to completely cool on my car roof.  A half-hour later I was savoring my success.  Yum!  Yum! Yum!

And now, for your healthy snacking pleasure, I present—

Kathy’s Trail Mix Crunch Chunks                                                                      

“The best granola bark recipe, ever!”

1 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

1 cup oats

½ cup sunflower seeds

1 cup chopped pecans

½ cup sliced almonds

½ cup craisins

½ cup raisins

¼ cup sesame seeds

Mix all of the above together in a large, glass mixing bowl.

In a large saucepan melt together:  (The four following ingredients were edited on Jan. 19, 2015 as I did a bit more experimenting and prefer the newer measurements and honey over corn syrup)

¾ cup raw sugar

 4 not  5 T. butter

2 T. heavy cream- 1/3 cup

2 T. corn syrup  honey

Bring to a boil making sure sugar is dissolved, and then boil for one minute. (Line a 12″ X 19″ baking sheet with parchment paper while base is boiling.)  Remove from heat and add:

1 t. vanilla

Pour over nut mixture and mix thoroughly.

Dump onto large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and spread evenly.  I used another sheet of parchment paper on top of the mixture to press it down with my hands.  It cools off enough while stirring it to allow this.

Sprinkle with:

½ cup mini chocolate chips

Bake at 350 degrees for 16-18 minutes.S

Let cool completely.  Break into chunks and store in an airtight container.

Enjoy!