How are you all adjusting to "back to school" life thus far? For us, I guess we’re doing alright. (I am hanging in there!) For some reasons, it seems that my kids are adjusting way better than I do. My body is not quite willing to adjust to the super early wake up time! Plus, I miss them terribly during the day….and dealing with homework after school isn’t all that fun! Shhh….don’t tell them though. If you need to pack your children (or grandchildren’s) lunch and snack boxes like I do, that’s another level of challenge! It’s not always easy to keep things interesting and healthy! Today, I have a solution for you on the snack box! Say hello to these Almond Cranberry and Macadamia Protein Bars!
They are quick and easy to put together and oh so good. They are crunchy, chewy, slightly sweet and a little salty at the same time. These bars are the perfect thing to pack into the snack boxes for school or office, or when you are on the go. You can simply grab one and take it anywhere with you! I made them gluten free with the brown rice crisps cereal and brown rice syrup. If you want to make a vegan-friendly version, substitute the honey with an equal amount of agave and you’re good to go (please see details on the recipe at the bottom of this post).
There are quite a few advantages of making these bars at home. The obvious ones are that you can control what ingredients you add into them and the cost is cheaper than packaged protein bars from the market. Another reason for making them yourself is that you can cut them into any shapes and sizes you want! I cut some of mine with a small heart shaped cookie cutter (see picture above). Not only they are super adorable, they also have the perfect portions for the kiddos. Ready to see how I made them? Please click on the video tutorial below!
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Thank you for reading. Please stay tuned for more fun recipe and giveaway in the near future.
Ingredients and Tool used:
Roasted and salted almonds (Click here for more information)
Dried cranberries (Click here for more information)
Macadamia nuts (Click here for more information)
Organic Brown Rice Crisps (Click here for more information)
Organic Brown Rice Syrup (Click here for more information)
Organic Honey (Click here for more information)
9 by 13-inch baking pan (Click here for more information)
Small sauce pan (click here for more information)
Parchment paper (Click here for more information)
Heat proof spatula (Click here for more information)
Almond Cranberry and Macadamia Protein Bars:
Makes: 16 bars
2 1/2 cup salted and roasted almonds***
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup salted and roasted macadamia nuts, roughly chopped***
1 1/2 cup brown rice cereal
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Line an 9 x 13-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add almonds, cranberries, brown rice cereal, and macadamia nuts and gently toss to combine. Set aside.
In a small to medium pot, add brown rice syrup and honey together. Heat over medium heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. The mixture tend to bubble up easily, so do not walk away during heating time. Let the honey mixture cook for 4-5 minutes, or until it reaches about 260 F. degrees, stir occasionally.
Remove syrup mixture from heat, stir in vanilla extract. Then, pour it evenly over the almond mixture and stir until it is evenly coated with the syrup.
Quickly transfer the protein bar mixture to the lined baking pan, and gently spread it into an even layer. (Tip: It’ll be much easier spread the mixture by covering it with a piece of parchment paper and press with your hands gently to form an even layer.)
With the parchment paper covered on top, let the bars cool for 2 hours, or until they are set.
When ready to serve, lift up the parchment paper on the bottom of the baking pan (with the uncut bars) and transfer the whole thing to a cutting board. Cut the bars into your desired shapes and sizes. I cut some of mine with a heart shaped cookie cutter for smaller portions, those are perfect for the kids. Store the bars in an air tight container at room temperature until ready to eat.
The bars will last up to 10 days. Or up to 3 months in the freezer.
***Note: If you use unsalted nuts, add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt to the syrup mixture while it is cooking.
P.S. This recipe was a special request from a friend who wants a homemade (copycat) recipe to the Kind Cranberry Almond Bars. I'm sure she'll love this homemade version.