Cherry Craisin Oat Bars
Granola Bars Are a Great Snack
I love to snack. I enjoy eating granola bars, and this homemade granola bar recipe is one of my favorites. I also enjoy healthy food that tastes good (okay, who doesn't?), and I really love when I find yet another recipe that's delicious and healthy for me.
I love to make these Quaker oats snack bars, and they always come out fantastic. I can't stop snacking on them when they're in the house. Plus, they're so fun and easy to make that you'll probably find yourself making them regularly in your kitchen. The mixture can be made into bars or even cranberry oatmeal cookies.
The Benefits of Homemade Oatmeal Bars
The best thing about making homemade granola bars is that you can use your favorite dried fruit, nuts, and seeds to personalize this snack and make it your own. Craisins, sunflower seeds, and shredded coconut are some of my favorites.
- 3 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked
- 1/2 cup coconut, flaked
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds, without shells
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup margarine or butter
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 cup craisins, chopped
- 1 teaspoon almond extract or flavor
- In mixing bowl, combine oats, coconut, and sunflower seeds. Set to side.
- In saucepan, combine sugar, butter, and eggs. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat. Add almond extract and craisins into mix and stir to coat.
- Pour fruit and sauce mix over oat mixture. Stir until well-blended.
- Pour mixture onto lightly greased or wax-papered cookie sheet. Spread with utensil. Place a piece of wax paper over mix (large enough to completely cover it) and continue rolling out mix, flattening it with a rolling pin. A duplicate cookie sheet can be placed on top of the mix and pressed down to help flatten it.
- Place in frig for a few hours (or freezer for one hour) to chill. Remove and cut into squares or bars. Store in airtight container and refrigerate (optional).
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Tips for Snack Success
- Stir your egg, sugar, and margarine mixture constantly. If left still even for a second, you might begin to cook the eggs, and that's not what you want.
- The craisins I use (cherry juice–infused dried cranberries) are pretty moist—more moist than an ordinary raisin. If you're using a dried fruit that is super dry, it will soften up a bit as soon as you add it to your warm sauce mixture. I love snacking on and working with cherry craisins. If dried fruit makes you think of old ladies, then these juicy craisins should make you think of sexy supermodels. I think they're even yummier than any of the fruit snacks I ate and loved as a kid.
- When flattening my finished mixture, I use the rolling pin and wax paper method as well as flattening my bars in between two jelly roll pans. (I also keep my mixture pressed between the two pans while it chills.) Getting your mix to the edges and corners will ensure consistent thickness and snack size when you're ready to cut. Whatever you do, though, you'll probably benefit from the wax paper. The finished mix can be sticky.
- I use a cookie sheet that has sides to it, like a jelly roll pan, instead of a completely flat cookie sheet. This helps you to spread your mixture and gives you a general shape to fit it into instead of trying to achieve this on your own. Again, this helps to make your snack more attractive when it comes time to cut up your bars.
- You can eat this as soon as your mixture is finished, although it might still be a bit warm. It tastes delicious warm, but can be very hard to work with. Cutting into bars while still warm will be difficult. However, if you're making this for yourself as a snack at home, you can eat it as is without cutting it into bars.
- I usually leave my pans chilling in the frig for a few hours, and if they're not cold enough to cut easily, I sometimes place the pans in the freezer for about an hour. When I take the "pan-press" out of the freezer, the bars are super easy to cut. I like to use a pizza cutter for this step.
- I wrap my bars in wax paper in an "accordion style" for home snacking or individually to take on the go.
These bars are not rock hard like a granola bar. They're a little bit fragile. Keeping them in the frig helps to keep them a little stiffer. Did I mention how much I love the craisins? I am crazy for craisins. I love working with them. They come in different flavors, and you can find them in the same section as traditional raisins. They're made by Ocean Spray, and I buy them on a regular basis for snacking and baking.
I hope you enjoy these bars as much as I do. They're as yummy as a candy bar as far as I'm concerned, but they're so much healthier for you!