Thursday, October 8, 2015

Cranberry Walnut Granola Bars

When I was a child, I remember always having granola bars in our pantry. Specifically they were the Nature Valley Oat and Honey Bars. I think my mom had a thing for them and would buy them by the huge Costco box-full. In any case, they were always available for a quick after school snack, or when running out of the house in the morning.

The downside was they were chocked full of sugar. It seems as though nowadays you can find a lot of healthier bar options, from raw bars to high-protein meat bars (yes they exist).

I stumbled across the Smitten Kitchen recipe for granola bars, that pretty much can be made using whatever you happen to have on hand in your pantry. On my short list were nuts, seeds, oats, and definitely cranberries for a little tang and sweetness.

Needless to say these chewy granola bars were a hit at work, and had there been any left over would have kept for at least a week or two wrapped up for a quick snack.

Cranberry Walnut Granola Bars
Adapted from King Arthur Flour and Smitten Kitchen

Makes 24 bars

1 2/3 cup quick rolled oats 160g quick rolled oats
3/4 cup granulated sugar 170g caster sugar
1/3 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking) 40g rolled oats
1/2 tsp salt 2.5ml / 2g salt
1 cup dried cranberries 120g dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts 100g chopped walnuts
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas) 70g pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup unsalted sesame seeds 33g sesame seeds
6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted 75g unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla 5ml / 2g vanilla
1/3 cup honey 115g honey
1/4 cup peanut butter 65g peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius, gas mark 4). Grease or spray a 9"x13" (23cm x 33cm) baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Let parchment paper hang over two opposite sides of the pan (you will use the extra parchment paper later to lift the bars out of the pan). In a food processor, pulse the rolled regular oats until fine. In a large bowl, combine the oats with the rest of the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients and press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake granola bars for 30 minutes, or until lightly browned at the edges. Once cooled, chill bars in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Lift the granola out of the pan and cut into bars.

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