Granola Bar Clusters
Granola Bar Clusters
One of the many reasons I enjoy baking these clusters is that when you cut them, they don’t form into perfectly shaped bars. Instead, they splinter into bits and pieces that can be used for my morning cereal and larger pieces that make a quick snack on the go. Plus, they pack well allowing for easy transport in my purse, carry-on or stashed in my glove compartment or gym bag.
Yield: Approximately 24
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 32 minutes
2 cups old-fashioned oats, not instant
1/2 cup whole unsalted almonds
1/2 cup cashews
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup brown rice syrup, like Sweet Dreams Organic Brown Rice Syrup
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF.
2. Line a quarter sheet tray (small baking tray measuring 9x13-inches) or a 9x13-inch baking dish with parchment paper ensuring there is a 2-inch overhang on two sides. Grease with baking or cooking spray (like Pam) and set to the side.
3. In a medium size bowl, add oats, almonds, cashews and cherries tossing to evenly combine.
4. In a small saucepan over medium – low heat, add brown rice syrup and while whisking, cook until loose and runny in consistency, approximately 1 – 2 minutes.
5. Add brown rice syrup to dry ingredients and using a rubber spatula, toss until evenly combined.
6. Transfer to prepared sheet tray or baking dish and firmly press down so that the granola spreads into a thin but even layer. Cover with parchment paper and using a second sheet tray or baking dish (the same size), place on top and firmly press down. Alternatively, lightly grease your hands with butter or vegetable oil and press down creating a compact but even layer.
7. If using, remove the sheet tray or baking dish and parchment paper reserving both until after baking. Place granola in preheated 325ºF oven baking for 10 minutes. Rotate and bake for an additional 10 minutes (for chewy bars) or 15 additional minutes for crunchy bars.
8. Remove from oven and cover with the reserved parchment paper and second sheet tray or baking dish. Once again, firmly press down to compact bars. Remove the second sheet tray or baking dish and parchment paper and allow bars to fully cool in the pan.
9. Carefully remove the granola bars by lifting them with the overhang parchment. Allow to fully cool at room temperature before cutting or breaking into desired size pieces.
Kitchen Note: Feel free to swap the nuts and dried fruit to those of your liking. Granola clusters will keep up to two weeks in an airtight container.