Cherry Almond Granola (GF)

IMG_2914This is by special request from my dear friend Christina!

I’m preparing for a trip out of town and this will be the first trip eating a vegan diet and staying some place without a kitchen.  I’ve realized that I want to take some of my own snacks.  First up, granola bars!  They will be a quick bit of carb and protein that I can eat with some fresh fruit, just in case there are only butter-filled pastries at the conference I am attending.

I developed this from a great Smitten Kitchen recipe.  I wanted a bit of a different flavor profile than the original and also adjusted for a few more ingredients.  I also added a little coconut oil because I like short-ness in baked goods, and I wanted these to be dense but also with a soft crunch. Finally, I ground a 3 inch cinnamon stick with the flax in a coffee grinder. I guesstimated the amount of cinnamon in the recipe, below.

IMG_2925Granola Bars
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen.

Makes 12 to 16 granola bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 c old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 c sliced almonds
  • 1 c shredded coconut, unsweetened and loosely packed
  • 3/4 c pecans
  • 1/2 c ground flax seed
  • 1/4 c almond flour
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 2/3 c brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 c dark molasses
  • 3 T coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 c dried tart cherries

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9 x 13 cookie sheet (with edges–really a jelly roll pan) with parchment paper.
  2. Toss the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut together on a sheet pan and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
  3. While the oatmeal, almonds, and coconut toast in the oven, put the rice syrup, molasses, and coconut oil in a small saucepan and heat very slowly on low or medium-low (you do not want this to get hot, you are just trying to loosen up the rice syrup so it stirs easier, later).
  4. About 5 minutes into the toasting, add the pecans to another shallow pan and place into the oven (hint: time this along with stirring the oatmeal mixture, but it’s ok if you toast separately after you finish toasting the oatmeal mixture).
  5. Transfer the oatmeal mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the flax seed, cinnamon, and salt. Reduce the oven temperature to 300°F.
  6. Roughly chop the pecans and add them to the mixing bowl.
  7. While the dry mixture is still warm, whisk together and then stir in the syrup/molasses/coconut oil mixture and vanilla until the dry mixture is well coated.  Add the dried fruit.
  8. Pour the mixture into your prepared baking dish and press it as flat as possible, until the mixture is packed as tightly as possible (see below).
  9. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light golden brown. Cool for 30 minutes before cutting into squares – I used my sharpest chef’s knife for this, pressing straight down.
  10. Cool completely before storing.  You can store these in an airtight container at room temperature up to two weeks, but these also freeze well.

Hint:  I initially covered the mixture with another piece of parchment and then placed another jelly roll pan on top of the mixture and pressed, to make the entire surface flat and even.  I then went back over the mixture with a rolling pin to be sure it was packed tightly.  Of course, I removed the top piece of parchment paper before baking.  If you prefer crumbles instead of bars, do not press onto the jelly roll pan.  Instead, make into a loose single layer on the pan and bake as per indicated for the rest of the recipe.  After cooling for at least 30 minutes, break up with your hands.

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4 thoughts on “Cherry Almond Granola (GF)

  1. Thanks!! Here’s hoping it travels well. I had to make another batch, because some friends and I put such a dent on the first one. 😀

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