I love granola bars of all varieties and flavors. Chewy, crunchy, nutty and fruity. I used to stock up at the grocery store weekly, but then I looked at the list of ingredients. Far too many processed food-like substances for my taste, so I decided to make my own. I posted a recipe for Banana Chocolate bars over the summer and haven’t bought a box of granola bars since. The recipe was a huge success and I’ve been meaning to post follow-up varieties, but haven’t been all that inspired. Now that it’s fall and everything is cranberries, cinnamon and nutmeg, I’ve finally found the inspiration I was looking for.
These Cranberry Spice granola bars taste just like the Autumn. Tom thinks they taste like Pumpkin Pie, but he thinks that about everything made with nutmeg. While the recipe and method are almost identical to the summer’s granola bars, the mix-ins give them a unique flavor all their own. Instead of chocolate, cashews and banana chips, I used dried cranberries, pecans and a blend of warming spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom and ginger.
I encourage you to give these granola bars a try. They come together in under 20 minutes, everyone loves them and you can experiment with a huge variety of nuts and mix-ins to make them your own. They also make a filling and nutritious portable snack. Since most airlines don’t even give you a tiny bag of pretzels, I made these for Tom’s business trip and I think they just might be the perfect carry-on plane food.
Related: Banana Chocolate Granola Bars
Homemade Cranberry Spice Granola Bars
These keep in the fridge for a week or two. You can also keep them out on the counter since it’s not too warm out.
1 tsp. butter
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 1/2 cups pecan halves
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups brown rice crisp cereal (sold at Whole Foods and other â€œnaturalâ€ stores, or substitute Rice Krispy cereal)
3/4 cup brown rice syrup (sold at Whole Foods and other â€œnaturalâ€ stores)
1/4 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground cardamom
Preheat the oven to 325Â°. Spread the almonds and pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them in the oven for 6 – 8 minutes, or until they start to brown a bit.
In the meantime, grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with the butter and set aside. Now, mix the oats, rice cereal, cranberries and toasted almonds and pecans in a big bowl.
In a small saucepan, heat the syrups, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger and vanilla extract over medium-high heat, stirring to avoid burning. Once the syrups come to a light boil, continue to cook for an additional 3 – 5 minutes until the syrup begins to thicken, then pour it over the oats and nuts. Mix everything together so that the syrup evenly coats everything in the bowl.
While itâ€™s still warm, pour the contents of the bowl into your prepared baking dish. Using a rubber spatula, pat everything down so itâ€™s nice and compacted. I like to place some parchment or aluminum paper over the top and really press down so that the bars don’t break apart when you eat them.
Let cool to room temperature. You can also put them in the fridge for a bit since thisâ€™ll make cutting easier. Cut them into square or rectangles as you please.
Makes about 18 granola bar-sized bars.