These bars are perfect as part of your breakfast or when you need a snack on the go!
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Make aluminum foil sling for 13-by-9-inch baking pan (see photos below) and spray foil lightly with vegetable oil spray.
Add ½ cup oats to food processor and lock lid into place. Process oats until finely ground, about 30 seconds. Stop food processor. Carefully remove blade (ask an adult for help). Transfer ground oats to small bowl. Fit blade back into food processor.
Add pecans to now-empty food processor, lock lid back into place, and pulse until finely chopped, 5 to 8 pulses. Add pecans to bowl with ground oats.
In large bowl, whisk sugar, egg whites, oil, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined. Add chopped pecans, ground oats, remaining 1½ cups whole oats, dried cherries, pepitas, sunflower seeds, and coconut and use rubber spatula to stir until well combined.
Transfer oat mixture to baking pan and spread into even layer. Spray bottom of large metal spatula lightly with vegetable oil spray. Use greased spatula to press firmly on top of oat mixture until mixture is very flat.
Place pan in oven and bake bars until light golden brown, about 40 minutes. Use oven mitts to remove pan from oven (ask an adult for help). Place pan on cooling rack and let bars cool in pan for 15 minutes; do not turn off oven.
Use foil to lift bars out of pan and transfer to cutting board. Use chef’s knife to cut in half lengthwise. Then cut each half crosswise into 8 bars (for a total of 16 bars).
Line rimmed baking sheet with clean piece of foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Space bars evenly on baking sheet and place baking sheet in oven. Bake until bars are deep golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
Use oven mitts to remove baking sheet from oven (ask an adult for help). Place baking sheet on cooling rack and let bars cool completely, about 1 hour. Serve. (Extra bars can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored in zipper-lock bag or airtight container for 1 week. Bars will get softer and chewier over time.)
Follow these three easy steps to crack eggs and separate the egg white from the egg yolk:
To change up the flavor in granola bars, pick a different stir-in instead of the dried cherries to add with the nuts and seeds. Have fun and try your own combinations. Use ½ cup mini chocolate chips, chopped dried apricots, or dried cranberries. You can also try using ½ cup almonds or walnuts instead of the pecans.