I’ve been wanting to make my own snack bars for a very long time and only recently got around to it. I like the Kashi TLC Chewy Granola bars. My favorites are the Honey Almond Flax, and the Peanut – Peanut Butter, but the Cherry Dark Chocolate are excellent as well. The trouble is that they aren’t inexpensive. I kept thinking I should be able to come up with something similar and less expensive.
These bars are my first attempt. Both my husband and I like these bars better than the Kashi Bars even though they’re substantially different. I haven’t run the numbers but my gut feeling is that they’re not any less expensive. Still they’re an excellent snack, and they store well. I cut these up into bars and then individually wrapped them and stored them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When I need to take a snack with me I can just pop one in my purse and by them time I need to eat it, the bar has come to room temperature and is perfect for a pick me up. If you’re going to share them with a crowd, or you’re going to eat them more quickly you could skip the wrapping and refrigerating.
This is a variation on the recipe for Big Sur Power Bars from 101 Cookbooks, and the Power Bar recipe on page 47 in Heidi Swanson’s cookbook Super Natural Cooking. In both of those recipes Heidi emphasizes using crisp brown rice cereal. I really like this choice, but despite her wise words I’m tempted to try some of the Kashi cereal next time in an effort to increase the amount of protein in the bars. The following recipe is how I made them. Please refer to 101 Cookbooks, or Super Natural Cooking for original recipes by Heidi Swanson.
Chewy Cherry Almond Granola Bars
1 T. butter
1 1/4 c. rolled oats
1 1/4 c. almonds, toasted and chopped
1/2 c. ground flax seed
1 1/2 c. unsweetened brown rice cereal
1 c. dried cherries, chopped
2/3 c. unsweetened coconut
1 c. brown rice syrup
1/4. c. sucanat
1 t. pure vanilla extract
1/4 t. almond extract
1/2 t. kosher salt
Grease a 9×13 inch pan with the 1 T. butter.
In a large bowl mix together the oats, nuts, cereal, flax seed, coconut, and cherries. Set aside.
In a small saucepan combine the rice syrup, sucanat, vanilla and almond extracts. Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. The mixture will come to a boil and thicken slightly. This takes about 4 minutes.
Pour this mixture over the cereal and nut mixture and combine until the syrup is evenly distributed.
Spread into the buttered pan and cool completely. After the bars have cooled completely turn them out onto a large cutting board and cut into bars. Wrap each bar individually in waxed paper and store either at room temperature or in the refrigerator depending on how fast you and yours will be eating them.