First of all, I toasted the oats too long in the first step. They were definitely not "pale golden". They were more like "dark golden". I should have gone with 15 minutes instead of 20 minutes.
Then, I thought it would be awesome to add some mini chocolate chips. I love chocolate chip granola bars. It wasn't until I had already poured everything into the bowl that I realized I should have let the oat and honey mixtures cool completely before adding the chocolate chips. I ended up with melted chocolate-honey coated oats.
Crunchy Granola Bars
Makes 36 bars
Quick-cooking oats cannot be substituted for the old-fashioned oats here because their texture becomes too sandy when toasted. Don’t use a baking sheet smaller than 18 by 13 inches or the bars will be too thick and they won’t bake evenly.
7 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup honey
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups whole almonds, pecans, peanuts, or walnuts, chopped coarse
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and head the oven to 375 degrees. Toss the oats, oil, and salt together in a medium bowl. Spread the mixture out over a baking sheet and toast it in the oven, stirring often, until pale golden, 20 to 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, line an 18 by 13-inch rimmed baking sheet with a foil sling and grease the foil.
Cook the honey and sugar together in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the sugar is fully dissolved, about 5 minutes. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla and cinnamon.
Transfer the toasted oat mixture to a large bowl and reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees. Toss the oat mixture, honey mixture, and nuts together until well combined.
Spread the mixture out over the prepared pan and press into an even layer using a greased spatula. Bake the granola bars until golden, 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
Let the granola bars cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then cut into bars. Let the bars cool completely, then removed individual bars from the pan using a spatula.