Cranberry Almond Granola Squares


Cranberry Almond  Granola Squares

Granola bars are one of those things I never thought about actually making myself until about 2 years ago.  But it’s pretty easy, and it’s kind of neat to customize the flavors to something you could not find in a grocery store.

My favorite kind of granola bars (or cereal bars) are Fiber One Oats and Chocolate.  I eat at least one a day, and I’m going to post a homemade version at some point.  But I decided to try out the cranberry-almond-cardamom combo this time.

One of my favorite breakfast cereals in Post Cranberry Almond Crunch, and these bars were inspired by that cereal.

You can use regular sweetened dried cranberries for this.  I like to use reduced sugar Craisins because not only do they have fewer calories and less sugar, but they also have added fiber.  You can also use cinnamon instead of cardamom if that’s what you have.  I just thought it would be interesting to change it up a little.  Cardamom is similar to cinnamon, but a little more complex and a little spicier.  There is not much in here, but a little is all you need.

 

Total Time:  1 hour and 45 minutesa

Makes: 16 bars

Difficulty Level:  Easy

 

Ingredients

1 cup chopped raw almonds

1 cup no sugar added Craisins

1 ¾ cup oats

½ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup almond butter

½ cup honey

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Line an 8×8 or 9×9 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Let it fit in with enough extra room for you to pull it out later.  This will keep the granola from sticking to your pan. **see note
  2. Spread the chopped almonds out evenly on a small sheet pan. Toast until just starting to brown (3-5 minutes depending on your toaster oven).  Watch them closely so they don’t burn.
  3. Add the almonds to a large mixing bowl. To that, add the Craisins, oats, cardamom, and salt.  Toss the ingredients together with a spoon, and set aside.
  4. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, add the almond butter, honey, and vanilla extract. Whisk once or twice.
  5. Microwave the almond butter mixture in 30 second increments until runny. (Mine took 1 minute.)
  6. Drizzle the almond butter mixture over the oats. Toss together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until it’s completely incorporated.
  7. Pour the granola evenly into the pan, and spread it out with your spoon or spatula.
  8. To finish spreading it out, use a flat-bottomed drinking glass (or something similar). Alternately, you can also use your fingers with a sheet of parchment paper between you and the granola.
  9. Cover the granola, and chill in the fridge for at least 90 minutes.
  10. Slice into bars, and enjoy. ***see note

**Note:  If you can, weigh down the parchment paper with a second pan of the same size.  This will help it stay put better when you’re spreading out the granola.

***Note:  You can also individually wrap these in plastic wrap to take on the go.

(inspired by Cookie and Kate)