Chewy, crunchy and delicious nut-free snack bars with good-for-you dried fruit, oats and little explosions of chocolate. We like the flavor of dried cherries or cranberries, but any coarsely chopped dried fruit will work.
- Position a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 300°F. Line an 8-inch-square pan with parchment paper, letting it overhang on two opposite sides.
- Toss cereal, oats and dried cherries (or cranberries) in a large bowl.
- Combine honey, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring, until the honey is more fluid and the salt is dissolved. Pour the honey mixture over the dry ingredients and fold until everything is moistened and sticky. Let cool for 5 minutes. Fold in chips (or chopped chocolate) until evenly distributed. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly with a fork. Using the back of the fork, press the mixture very firmly all over. (Alternatively, cover with parchment paper and press firmly all over.)
- Bake until the top is golden brown, about 35 minutes. (If in doubt, take it out so the honey does not burn.) Run a knife along the unlined sides of the pan to detach the bars. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack to room temperature, about 1 hour. Use the ends of the parchment to lift the bars from the pan. Gently peel off the parchment. Use a heavy sharp knife to cut into 16 bars or squares.