Friday, December 20, 2013

Cherry Almond Granola Bars

I just want it to go on record that Amy Davis actually made a granola bar WITHOUT chocolate chips!  Surprised?  Me too.

Granola bars are my new favorite go-to-snack and I've been scouring through Pinterest in search of new recipes lately.  I admit that I'm pretty particular when it comes to granola bars.  I've learned (the hard way) that there are several things that I DON'T like in my homemade granola bars.  First of all, I don't like peanut butter in granola bars and that alone eliminates a LOT of the recipes right off the bat.   I also don't like raisins but those can be easily swapped out for another fruit so that isn't a deal breaker when I'm looking at recipes.  Lastly, I prefer the granola bars that don't have rice cereal in them.  It's not that I don't like these bars.  As a matter of fact, I've made them before and I really quite enjoy them but they make me feel more like I'm eating a rice crispy treat dessert than a healthy snack.   I prefer a more simple combination of oats and nuts.

This recipe came from and with a few minor tweeks, I made a perfectly delicious (and chocolate free) granola bar.  Even though it was never my intention to create a totally chocolate free granola bar, I decided that the ingredients in this granola bar were good enough to stand on their own.  I think my hunch was right on this time - these granola bars are awesome.

Cherry Almond Granola Bars
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut*
¼ cup golden flax meal
¼ cup wheat germ

Preheat oven: 350˚
Stir all ingredients together in a large bowl.  Spread out on two foil-lined baking sheets.  Toast for 10-15 minutes, stirring at least once, until the mixture has been lightly browned.

Return to the bowl and stir in:
1 cup dried fruit, chopped
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. nutmeg
pinch of salt

For the wet ingredients, whisk the following together in a small saucepan over low heat:
½ cup honey
3 T butter
3 T brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Pour the mixture into the bowl and stir to combine.  Be sure that all of the dry ingredients are well coated.

 Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper.  Drop the oven temperature down to 325˚.
Press the granola mixture into the pan, using your fingers to get an even layer and pressing down hard.  Use the back of a metal bowl or small water glass to smooth out the top.

Bake the bars for 10 minutes, just to help them harden.

Cool thoroughly (at least two hours) before lifting the parchment-lined bars out of the pan.  Cut into desired size using a sawing motion with a sharp serrated knife.  I like to put my granola bars in the refrigerator for about an hour before I try and slice them.  (Just a suggestion.)

These granola bars are the perfect breakfast treat with a cup of peppermint tea.

 I am definitely packing some of these up to take to the soccer tournament this weekend too.

I really liked these granola bars.  (Even without chocolate.)  I think I will leave out the nutmeg next time because it was a little overpowering but otherwise - this recipe's a keeper.


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