1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the pecans, oats, pine nuts, and flax seeds on the sheet and bake about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
2. In a saucepan, bring the sugar, honey, butter or Earth Balance, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and a light brown caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
3. Pour the caramel over the nut and oat mixture. Stir in the brown rice cereal and the cranberries until evenly coated.
4. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, extend the paper over the sides of the pan to use as a handle later. Pour the cereal mixture into the baking dish and spread out into an even layer. Cover the pan with a second piece of parchment and press down to compress the bars. Let the mixture stand for about 2 hours until firm.
5. Discard the top piece of parchment and use the "handles" from the second piece of parchment to gently remove the cereal square from the pan then cut the squares into 12 equal size bars and serve.
*I have been making a batch of these at the beginning of the week and wrapping them individually in plastic wrap. I keep them in the refrigerator so we can pull out as many as we want each morning. Just be sure to let them come to room temp before you eat them because they really harden up in the fridge, but they will soften back to a crispy, chewy granola bar in a few minutes.
By: Beard and Bonnet
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