I'm very excited (...and honored!) to have been invited by the fabulous Jenny over at Have Your Cake to write a guest post recipe! I love her fun, useful, and inspirational views on healthy living. ...Believe me, I have drastically cut down my butter intake since I've been following her daily tips!
So, I decided to make a batch of one of my favorite homemade, healthy goodies: granola bars! Sweet oats, with toasted almonds, and the tartness of cranberries and orange zest, all in a little bar. Perfect! ... especially with a bit a greek yogurt!
Not only are these healthier than the store-bought (...I'm assuming corn syrup isn't in your pantry), but they are easy to make (think: rice krispie treats), and there are so many flavor possibilities. Try dates, cherries, apricots, or even chocolate chips! Wrap the cut bars in wax paper or store in an airtight container, they will keep in the fridge for up to a month. You can even make two flavors at once by doubling the recipe and baking the two flavors side by side in a larger baking pan.
Oh, and if you are still scared of attempting granola bars, believe me, I was for quite some time, thinking the bars would just fall apart when I tried to cut them, but just remember that the worse that could happen is you end up with a bag of small granola bar chunks... which will still be delicious.
CRANBERRY-ORANGE ALMOND GRANOLA BARS (adapted from Barefoot Contessa)
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
2/3 cups honey
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus a bit for the pan
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried cranberries
zest of one large orange
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a 9x9 baking dish and line it with parchment paper.
Toss the oats, almonds, and coconut and on a sheet pan cook for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Transfer it to a large bowl and add the wheat germ.
In a saucepan, over medium heat bring the butter, honey, vanilla, and salt to a boil. Cook while stirring for another minute. Then add the liquid to to the bowl of dry ingredients. Add the cranberries and orange zest and mix well.
Pour the mixture into the parchment lined pan, and lightly pat down with your hands (it helps if you wet your hands a bit).
Bake at 300F for 30 minutes until lightly browned.
Allow it to cool for at least 3 hours (or overnight) and then cut into bars or squares. Serve at room temperature or store in a airtight container.