Cherry-Almond Granola Bars

  • From Bon Appetit 2012

    I made these bars around the Winter Solstice holiday of 2012 and they were fabulous!!!!! The first time I made them I didn’t have sunflower seeds, yet I don’t think it affected my final product negatively. Also because the flavor of the flaxseeds was more prominent than I wanted, this second time around I only used 1 tablespoon of flax seeds rather than 2.  I also toasted the coconut a little, used dried cranberries instead of dried cherries, and because I love the crunch of nuts, I added 1/4 cup of pepitas (aka pumpkin seeds).  For some added flavors I added 1/4 teaspoon vanilla to the liquid ingredients, along with 1 teaspoon of crystalized ginger.  These can also be made vegan by replacing honey with agave nectar. To eliminate any confusion regarding my recipe tweaks, I will repeat these changes, highlighting them in bold, as I go into the recipe below……

    homemade granola bars

    Cherry-Almond Granola Bars: 

    2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats

    3/4 cup whole raw almonds

    1/4 cup coconut oil plus more

    3/4 cup (4 ounces) coarsely chopped dried tart cherries (second time around I used dried cranberries instead)

    3/4 cup (3 ounces) unsweetened finely shredded coconut

    1/2 cup (3 ounces) roasted unsalted shelled sunflower seeds

    2 tablespoons flaxseeds, toasted (second time around I used 1 tablespoon)

    1/4 cup pepitas  (my addition)

    1/2 cup honey (vegan alterations, use agave nectar- maybe even experiment with date or rice syrup)

    1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar

    1/4 teaspoon vanilla (my addition)

    1 teaspoon crystalized ginger (my addition)

    1 teaspoon kosher salt

    Coconut oil, unsweetened finely shredded coconut, crystalized ginger, pepitas and flaxseeds can be found at natural foods stores and some supermarkets.

    crystalized ginger coconut oilpepitas

    Preheat oven to 400°. Mix oats and almonds on a large heavy rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring once, until just golden, about 10 minutes. If you want to toast the coconut as I did the second time around, bake almonds and oats for 8 minutes, then add coconut and toast for the remainder 2 minutes or so.) Transfer to a wire rack; let cool on sheet. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.

    almonds & oats
    Meanwhile, brush a 13 x 9 x 2-inch metal or glass baking dish with coconut oil. Line with parchment paper, allowing it to extend over long sides. Brush paper with coconut oil.

    lined pan brushed with oil
    Brush a large bowl generously with oil. Place oat mixture, cherries, coconut, sunflower seeds, and flaxseeds in bowl.

    dry ingredients mixed
    Bring 1/4 cup oil, honey, sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium heavy deep saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil for 1 minute.


    If adding the crystalized ginger, pulverize in a food processor- I use my mini food processor.

    ginger pulverized ginger

    Then add the ginger and vanilla to the honey/ brown sugar concoction.  Immediately pour over oat mixture in bowl. Using a heatproof spatula, stir until evenly coated. Transfer granola to prepared pan. Lightly press evenly into pan; smooth top. I coated my palms with coconut oil before pressing the mixture into the pan- prevents sticking. 

    pressed into pan

    Bake for 10 minutes. Turn pan; continue baking until golden brown with slightly darker edges, about 15 minutes longer.Transfer pan to a wire rack and let granola cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift granola from pan. Cut into 24 bars. DO AHEAD Bars can be made 4 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

    lifted out of pan with parchment paper homemade granola bars, pre cut cut in squares

    Per my usual request, if you make these: let me know what you think, whether or not you added your own tweaks, what they were if you did, and your outcome…….Enjoy!

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