Cherry-Almond Granola Bars

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I must confess a few things. The holidays and lots of travel wreak havoc on me, my body, and my routine.

I confess that on our way from central Illinois to Chicago, I ate several homemade pizzelles that were given as a gift from Mr. Prevention’s uncle. They were just…there…and they tasted SO good.

I confess that I worked out ZERO times since leaving for Illinois last Friday, despite packing workout clothes. (I did run last night, however!)

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I confess that I drank a craft beer every night we were gone.

I confess that I not only ate some killer thin crust pizza, but also some deep dish from Papa Dels in Champaign, Illinois.

I confess that the broccoli on my Christmas Eve dinner plate was covered in cheese. And Ritz crackers. Probably some butter, too…I’m not sure. But it was delicious.

I confess that one morning, my mother-in-law made cinnamon rolls for breakfast, and I partook. Thank goodness I limited myself to one. Mr. Prevention put on the breaks after 3.

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By yesterday, my body was giving me serious heck for the abuse. At our fourth and final Christmas, I stuck to tilapia and green beans, included a green salad, and took the smallest piece of baklava off the dessert table ;).

My point is, I’m ready to return to normalcy. My grocery cart included mixed greens and carrots. It did not include butter, flour, or sugar unlike my pre-Christmas grocery trips. I made dinner last night and it included fish and broccoli slaw…and water. Lots of water.

I’m glad that as I jet out the door this morning I can grab something wholesome and delicious…something that I made nearly 2 weeks ago and can enjoy today and for weeks to come. Having healthy snacks or breakfasts like these granola bars on-hand is crucial to my making healthy choices. Pizzelles don’t look quite as good when they’re up against a homemade Cherry-Almond Granola Bar, that’s for sure!

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Cherry-Almond Granola Bars slightly adapted from Bon Appetit

2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup whole raw almonds
1/4 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup (4 oz) dried cherries
3/4 cup (3 oz) unsweetened coconut, finely shredded
1/2 cup (3 oz) roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
2 Tbsp ground flaxseed
6 Tbsp honey
6 Tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Spread oats and almonds on a baking sheet. Bake, stirring once, until just golden, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool on sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325 F.

Line a 9 x 13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, allowing it to extend over long sides. Brush paper with melted coconut oil.

Mix the oat mixture, cherries, coconut, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed in bowl.

Bring 1/4 cup coconut oil, honey, sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium heavy deep saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 1 minute. Immediately pour over oat mixture in bowl. Using a heatproof spatula, stir until evenly coated. Transfer granola to prepared pan. Lightly press evenly into pan; smooth top.

Bake for 10 minutes. Turn pan; continue baking until golden brown with slightly darker edges, about 15 minutes longer.

Transfer pan to a wire rack and let granola cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift granola from pan. Cut into 12 bars. Store airtight at room temperature or freeze.

Yield: 12 bars

Nutrition Information (per bar): 299 calories; 16.4 g. fat; 0 mg. cholesterol; 125 mg. sodium; 35.8 g. carbohydrate; 4.4 g. fiber; 5.1 g. protein

Result: Swwwwoooooon! I am in love with these. They are very similar to the coconut-almond Kind bars that are outrageously expensive and incredibly delicious. I love that these have some chew and bite to them and the healthy fats, fiber, and protein help keep me full for hours. While these are a bit high calorie for a snack (though, not for athletes!), they are ideal for breakfast. A big cup of coffee, one of these, and a banana… breakfast perfection! Plus, they freeze perfectly for grab-and-go breakfasts for many mornings to come!

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Back to work today :( At least it’s only a 2-day work week. I think I can…I think I can.

Be well,

Comments

  1. says

    I confess that I have had MORE than the recommended ONE serving of alcohol for the last 4 nights straight, and I confess that I had 3 large buckeyes and 2 pieces of rocky road fudge on Christmas day……as an appetizer. BAHAHA!! But, I did workout :) muahaha, but only half.

    We practice what we preach, right?!
    Great granola bar recipe!! I can’t use coconut but I could probably substitute something else….right?!

  2. says

    I dont even want to recall all the food and alcohol that i have been indulging in the name of holiday spirit. And workout has also been a foreign word lately. But I feel pretty pumped to get back on track. Thanks for sharing this recipe and inspiration to get back on daily routine ASAP :) I probably should make these now.

  3. says

    Those look amazing! I will definitely try those, although I may have cottage cheese instead of a banana on the side because of all the carbs.

    I forgot to tell you that I made your olive oil “crack” granola for gifts this year, I only added white sesame seeds and it was a big hit. I inadvertantly discovered a secret though. After mixing the wet and dry ingredients together, let that sit for 30 minutes before baking – you get bigger chunks of granola that way. :D

  4. says

    These look tasty and crunchy/chewy! We got to make xmas eve dinner this year and kept everything fairly healthy and mostly plant-based :) Even had some apple cinnamon water kefir and fermented chutney to help with digestion. We did make some maple cinnamon granola and maple bark in the dehydrator that definitely was not ‘light’ but delicious!

  5. Sarah says

    I’ve been looking everywhere for granola bars that resemble Kind bars (in ANY sort of way!). What can I use as a coconut oil substitute? If there isn’t an excellent substitute, I’ll just buy some :)

    • Nicole, RD says

      Hi Sarah! You could use butter or a butter substitute with healthy fats, like Smart Balance. I love the flavor from the coconut oil, however :)

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