Homemade Granola Bars with Cranberries & Walnuts

Homemade Granola Fruit and Nut Bars

I don’t know about you, but around this time of the year, I start to scale back on my weekday cooking in order to prepare my refrigerator for all of the things I am making for Thanksgiving. This year my self imposed scale back has nothing to do with needing room for my thanksgiving dishes, instead I’m scaling back in preparation for not being home. We are joining millions of travelers this year, we are going to visit my in-laws in Nevada for Thanksgiving. Since we’ll be in the car for more than 3 hours, I decided to prepare some healthy snacks for us to munch on during the drive. This granola bar fits the bill perfectly. It has nuts, 3 kinds of fruit, and no refined sugar!

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

3/4 cup of maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter plus more for oiling the baking dish
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/3 cups chopped nuts I used walnuts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup of dried fruit, I used a mixture of sour cherries, cranberries, and raisins
1/3 cup creamy almond or peanut butter
1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup of Coconut flakes unsweetened  for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup of the maple syrup and the 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over low. Cook, stirring, until the oil melts. In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, and pinch of salt. Drizzle maple mixture over oat mixture and stir to combine. Spread mixture evenly on a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Place the oats in large bowl, add dried fruit and mix well. 

Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish. 

In saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 cup of maple syrup, almond butter, and honey over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes to a boil. Drizzle over oat mixture and stir until combined; transfer  mixture to buttered baking dish. With a spatula, firmly press granola into dish. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour, then cut into bars or squares.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving?

Since I’ll be visiting family next week, I am not sure I will have time to post. My daughter is turning 2 on Thanksgiving day, so when we return I’ll be focused on celebrating this major milestone with her. Happy cooking, and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you all!