CRANBERRY ALMOND PROTEIN BARS

http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/cranberry-almond-protein-bars/

YIELD: 8 SERVINGS
These cranberry almond protein bars are full of protein-packed ingredients, easy to make, naturally-gluten free, and absolutely delicious!
PREP TIME: 25 MINS COOK TIME: 5 MINS TOTAL TIME: 30 MINS

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups Blue Diamond Almonds (I used Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Sea Salt Almonds*)

2/3 cup puffed rice cereal**

2/3 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1 heaping tablespoon hemp seeds (optional)

1/3 cup brown rice syrup

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:

Line an 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add almonds, puffed rice cereal, cranberries, coconut, and hemp seeds (if using), and toss to combine. Set aside.

Stir brown rice syrup, honey and vanilla together in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling, stirring occasionally. Then let the sauce boil for 4-5 minutes, or until it reaches about 260 degrees, stirring occasionally. (The sauce will bubble up quite a bit, so keep an eye on it.) Once it’s ready, pour it evenly over the almond mixture and very quickly stir the mixture until it is evenly coated with the sauce. It hardens quickly, so you’ll need to move fast!

Quickly transfer the mixture to the lined baking dish, and press it firmly into the dish in an even layer. (I used the bottom of a measuring cup to help press the mixture down into the pan.) Let the bars cool for 30 minutes or until they reach room temperature. (You can speed up this process a bit by placing them in the refrigerator if you’d like.) Then carefully lift up the parchment paper from the baking dish and transfer it (with the bars) to a cutting board. Cut the bars into your desired shapes and sizes. Then place in a sealed container and store at room temperature until ready to eat.

The bars will last up to 10 days. Or if you freeze them, they will last up to 3 months.

*If you are using unsalted almonds, add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt to the sauce mixture while it is cooking.

**Here is the puffed rice cereal that I used. (Different than Rice Krispies.) It’s gluten-free, with no added sugar, and adds a great little “puff” to these bars.

DIFFICULTY: EASY CATEGORY: NO-BAKE INGREDIENTS: ALMONDS, BROWN RICE SYRUP, COCONUT FLAKES, DRIED CRANBERRIES, HEMP SEEDS, HONEY, PUFFED RICE CEREAL

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