1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8 × 12-inch baking dish with parchment paper and grease the paper.
2. In a medium bowl, stir together the oatmeal, pecans, coconut, and wheat germ. Turn the mixture out onto a separate baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden and fragrant. Transfer the oatmeal mixture to a large bowl. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
3. In a small saucepan, bring the butter, honey, date sugar, vanilla, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Stir the boiling mixture for 1 minute, then pour it over the oatmeal mixture. Add the dates and cranberries and stir to fully combine.
4. Scoop the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. With damp fingers, gently press the mixture into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light brown. Let the cooked bars cool for 3 hours in the baking sheet, then cut into bars.
Nutritional Superstar: Coconut improves the body’s absorption of calcium and magnesium, helping to build strong teeth and bones.
Baby Friendly: Older infants who comfortably eat nuts and honey and who have most of their teeth will enjoy snacking on these granola bars either whole or crumbled into small bites. Younger babies can sample from a tray of finely chopped dates and dried cranberries.
From Little Bites by Christine Chitnis and Sarah Waldman © 2015. Reprinted by arrangement with Roost Books, an imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc. Boston, MA. RoostBooks.com