Cranberry Cashew Granola Bars

December 1, 2011

The holidays are upon us.  Anticipating a busy couple of weeks, we have transformed our home into a full-fledged  Christmas scene.  The tree is up, Santa Lucia is perched on the buffet, and the winter mugs in the morning coffee rotation.  While trying to convince the over-eager children that it is too early to start hanging ornaments on the advent calendar (whose idea was it anyway to decorate for Christmas in November?), we have been brainstorming ideas for edible holiday gifts.

I love making edible gifts for just about any occasion. Cooking for others is a way to treat those we appreciate with a delicious treat and share a bit of ourselves in the process.  It is best to plan ahead and start cooking early so that the making and giving does not become a stressful burden.  Riding the food hangover following Thanksgiving, our first foodie gift to make was Cranberry Cashew Granola Bars.

These granola bars are just sweet enough to count as a treat, but full of wholesome ingredients so they are also right at home in your little one’s school lunch bag.  The bars hold together pretty well, better than other granola bars I have tried.  Any crumbly bits taste tremendous sprinkled atop yogurt and fruit for breakfast.  Feel free to change up the types of nuts and dried fruit, just be sure to use equal quantities.  If you are using roasted nuts or toasted wheat germ, do not toast them again in the oven, instead add those items to the bowl with the cranberries.

Cranberry Cashew Granola Bars

adapted from Alton Brown

makes 16 bars

2 cups rolled oats

1 cup raw cashew halves

1/2 cup raw wheat germ

1/4 cup flax seeds

1/4 cup black sesame seeds (white will work too, but black adds a nice color contrast)

1/2 cup honey

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus extra for pan

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 8 x 8 inch baking dish .  Line the bottom with parchment and butter the top of the parchment.  Set pan aside.

Pour the oats, cashews, wheat germ, flax seeds, and sesame seeds onto a half sheet pan.  Slide pan into the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until everything begins to brown slightly.  Stir halfway through. Once you remove the pan from the oven, reduce the heat to 300 degrees.

While the dry goods are toasting, heat the honey, brown sugar, butter, and salt in a small pan on the stove until the butter and sugar melt. Add the vanilla.

Once toasted, pour the dry goods into a large bowl.  Add the cranberries and stir to combine.  Pour the melted mixture over the top and stir until the whole mixture is sticky.  Scoop out the mixture and press it evenly into the prepared pan.

Place the pan in the 300 degree oven.  Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges begin to brown and the center is set.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing.  Store bars in an airtight container.  Stick the container in the freezer if you want to hang onto these for awhile.

Print this recipe:  Cranberry Cashew Granola Bars

You may also like:

Caramel and Chocolate Sauces

Oatmeal Jam Bars

Mango Cranberry Chutney


8 Responses to “Cranberry Cashew Granola Bars”

  1. IamSimplyTia Says:

    Oh yes! I wish I had one of these right now.

  2. robMacy Says:

    Karen! Thanks for the sample!! I’m makin’ some more today!

  3. Conor Bofin Says:

    They look so tasty. We have been buying boxes of ‘Nature Valley’ granola bars of late and I am minded to make some savings and to do something more natural than processed oats and corn syrup. This could be the way. Nice post and very nice photos,

  4. Those look fantastic! I’ve been looking for some grab-and-go breakfast items to eat on the train, and these are definitely going on the list!

  5. Tia- Me too! I just finished the last bar. Definitely planning on making more soon.

    Rob- Glad you liked them! More good things to come :)

    Conor- Making these bars is so ridiculously easy, you might just find you don’t need the convenience of NV bars anymore. It is definitely an added bonus to be able to control exactly what is in the bar- no funny stuff (though the brown sugar is a bit processed).

    Becky- I hope you give them a try. Noshing on one of these with a cup of coffee on the train sounds like a good start to the day.

  6. Hannah Says:

    These look terrific and I’m adding them to my list of homemade gifts to make. Plus, they look perfect for my kids’ lunches. Have a great weekend!

  7. TasteFood Says:

    These sound wonderful. We will be making our saffron bread next weekend for Santa Lucia!

  8. […] Cranberry Cashew Granola Bars […]

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