Cranberry Almond Protein Bars

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! | gimmesomeoven.comThis post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds

I’ve got the warm weather buzz right now.

And you’d better believe that I am living up every sunny, spring-y, scrumptious minute of it.

Waking up earlier in the mornings to soak up every last Vitamin-D filled ray?  Check.  Working out harder and taking my pup out for walks in said sunshine every day?  Bring it on.  Planning extra patio coffee dates and happy hours and back deck grill-outs galore?  Heck yes.  Breaking out the tank tops and flip flops and sundresses?  Every day.  Filling up my grocery cart with fresher, seasonal, healthier foods to cook with?  Yes, yes, deliciously, yes.

I mean, it’s no secret — winter and I have never been on good terms, and most years it feels like a Herculean effort (I wish I were being dramatic) to slog my way to the finish line of Daylight Savings.  But oh man, every new year that spring arrives, I appreciate it all the more.  And want to soak it up all the more.  And want to celebrate it all the more.  And want to live up every single freaking second of it all the more.

So!  A big part of that, of course, means getting my days off to a good start.  Since I’m not naturally a morning person, quick and easy breakfasts tend to be my best shot at eating well first thing in the morning, all the better if they’re pre-made.  So lately that has meant a nice cup of pre-prepared cold brew coffee, plus one of my favorite energy-packed treats that I can make in advance — these Cranberry Almond Protein Bars.

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars | gimmesomeoven.com

While we were living in Austin during the month of February, I got re-hooked on eating my favorite store-bought fruit and nut bars for quick breakfasts.  And…then the habit followed me back to Kansas City.  I love a good fruit and nut bar.  Especially when cranberries and almonds are involved.

But at nearly $2 a pop, I quickly decided that there must be a better homemade alternative.  So after researching around online and fiddling with a handful of different recipes, I finally settled on a base fruit and nut bar recipe that worked for me.  It’s not exactly like the ones I bought at the store, but after having some friends taste-test them last night, one of them said the magic words I was thinking — “these are even better than the bars at the store.”

Bingo.

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! | gimmesomeoven.com

To make them, I assembled all of my favorite sweet and salty fruit and nut bar base ingredients:

  • almonds (I’m a big fan of the salty Blue Diamond Oven Roasted Sea Salt Almonds)
  • dried cranberries (for a touch of natural sweetness)
  • puffed rice cereal (for that puffy crunch)
  • unsweetened coconut flakes (optional, but I love ’em)
  • an extra protein booster (I went with hemp seeds here, but chia or ground flax seeds would also work)

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! | gimmesomeoven.com

Then I whipped up the magic sauce that binds all of these ingredients together, using naturally sweetened (and gluten-free) brown rice syrup, honey and a bit of vanilla.  Then — very quickly — poured it over the nut mixture, stirred it all up, and then pressed it into a parchment-lined baking pan to form a bar.

(Note — time is of the essence here.  This sauce hardens very quickly, so once it’s ready, you’ve gotta mix and press these babies into the pan as ninja-quickly as possible.)Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! | gimmesomeoven.com

Then once the bars sat and cooled to room temperature…Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! | gimmesomeoven.com

I chopped them into individual-serving-sized bars.

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! | gimmesomeoven.com

And I must say, I had to do a double-take.  They looked just like my favorite bars I buy at the store!  And they tasted even better, especially knowing with 100% assurance exactly how much of each ingredient went into them.  Plus, they were easy to customize, came together in less than 30 minutes, and rang in at less than half the cost each of their store-bought counterparts.

I call that win-win-win.

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! | gimmesomeoven.com

Alright, spring.  Let’s do this.

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! | gimmesomeoven.com

Cranberry Almond Protein Bars

These cranberry almond protein bars are full of protein-packed ingredients, easy to make, naturally-gluten free, and absolutely delicious!

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.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

This post is sponsored by Blue Diamond Almonds.  I’m a big fan of their line of almond snacks, and all opinions are 100% my own as always.  Thanks for continuing to support the brands that help make this site possible!Cranberry Almond Protein Bars -- way cheaper than fruit and nuts bars at the store, and naturally gluten-free! | gimmesomeoven.com

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Comments

  1. taylor @ greens & chocolate — April 23, 2015 @ 7:09 am (#)

    Can I just say I’m jealous it’s actually acting like spring in KC?!  It’s 30 degrees here in Minneapolis this morning!  Not. Cool.  Oh well, soon enough it will be warm here!  I love, love, love, these bars…they remind me of KIND bars which are my favorite!  

  2. Erin @ Miss Scrambled Egg — April 23, 2015 @ 8:09 am (#)

    Wow! I love the looks of these. I’m a huge KIND Bar fan, but these homemade bars probably save money and are a tad healthier, too. :)

  3. Erin@WellPlated — April 23, 2015 @ 8:21 am (#)

    I love how LOADED with the good stuff these babies are! Yay for sunshine and flip flops. We’ve earned it :)

  4. Chicago Jogger — April 23, 2015 @ 8:49 am (#)

    I love the look of this recipe! I’m also guilty of the $2 a pop bars and this looks like the perfect way to break that habit :)

  5. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — April 23, 2015 @ 9:55 am (#)

    Love all those nuts in there!! These sound like the perfect snack!

  6. The Kentucky Gent — April 23, 2015 @ 10:54 am (#)

    Definitely going to have to give these a go. Buying granola bars in the store can get expensive!

    Josh – The Kentucky Gent
    http://thekentuckygent.com

  7. S Lauren | Modern Granola — April 23, 2015 @ 11:01 am (#)

    Yay! I love these types of bars at the store, and I love being able to make them myself even more! I’m excited to try these out!

  8. Ana | Espresso My Kitchen — April 23, 2015 @ 11:04 am (#)

    These look absolutely delicious! I love Blue Diamond Almonds. I’m a big fan of always having healthy snacks around.  Now I need to get myself some brown rice syrup

    Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!

    • Ali — May 1st, 2015 @ 12:57 pm

      Thanks Ana, I hope you enjoy these!

  9. Jenna — April 23, 2015 @ 11:51 am (#)

    These look so delicious and healthy too! I am obsessed with kind bars, and these remind me of them but I can customize them. Can’t wait to give them a try :)

  10. Salha Abuhayar — April 23, 2015 @ 4:02 pm (#)

    Wow! These bars look so delicious!
    The home-made bars are definitely healthier and cheaper.
    I would love to try this recipe, but I’ll probably change the cranberries for strawberries :D

    • Ali — May 1st, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

      Thanks Salha, I hope you enjoy them!

  11. Ilona @ Ilona's Passion — April 23, 2015 @ 4:40 pm (#)

    These bars are so good. I’ll make them for sure. Pinned it!

  12. Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking — April 23, 2015 @ 9:20 pm (#)

    I hadn’t even thought of patio coffee dates and BBQs and happy hours since, umm, we have the world’s smallest apartment patio and it’s all of 2 feet from the parking lot… But man, all of that sounds really good right about now! I’ll have to remember that come July when we move. :) I’m not a huge fan of the store-bought fruit ‘n nut bar prices either, but your easy recipe looks totally healthy and do-able!

  13. Anna — April 24, 2015 @ 4:53 am (#)

    this looks suuper delicious!!!

  14. Peggy Findley — April 25, 2015 @ 1:50 pm (#)

    Would these work with all honey and no brown rice syrup? I have all of the items at home except the syrup. Would they still harden or not so much? Thanks!! 

    • Ali — May 1st, 2015 @ 10:29 am

      Hey Peggy, I’m not 100% sure because I haven’t tried that myself, but I think you should be able to try these with all honey and no rice syrup. Let me know how they turn out for you!

  15. Christen — April 29, 2015 @ 10:47 am (#)

    Hi! I am definitely going to try this, as I have a hard time finding a store-bought fruit and nut bar as I’m allergic to soy. I’m also allergic to rice, so I was wondering what would be an alternative to the brown rice syrup in the recipe? Thanks! 

    • Ali — April 29th, 2015 @ 9:28 pm

      Hey Christen! Instead of brown rice syrup, you could try honey, agave, maple syrup, or Golden Syrup (it’s British and comes in a can – you should be able to find it in your grocery’s International aisle). I hope that helps!

  16. Margaret — April 30, 2015 @ 2:20 am (#)

    What’s the calorie count for each bar and how many bar’s come out of one batch?  They look fabulous!

    • Ali — April 30th, 2015 @ 2:17 pm

      Hey Margaret! I’m sorry but we currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site. The nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, several of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. I hope that helps!

  17. Monica — May 9, 2015 @ 12:06 pm (#)

    I don’t have access to brown rice syrup, can I exchange it for something else?

    • Ali — May 9th, 2015 @ 3:34 pm

      Of course! You could use maple syrup (same amount), agave (use 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons), or honey (same amount) instead. I hope that helps! : )

  18. Carene — June 19, 2015 @ 10:56 pm (#)

    Since honey is not vegan, is there something else I could use?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 25th, 2015 @ 10:08 pm

      Hi Carene, you could use brown rice syrup, maple syrup, or agave nectar. We hope you enjoy!

  19. Maryke Engelbrecht — June 28, 2015 @ 12:17 am (#)

    Hi!

    I absolutely looooove this post, especially your healthy syrup alternative.
    Just a word of caution about flax seeds – they are amazing little bits of nutrition, but when you grind them, be sure to eat them ASAP as they go rancid really quickly and end up being toxic instead of nutritious. 

    Keep up the good work :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — June 28th, 2015 @ 9:20 pm

      Thanks, Maryke! And thank you for sharing your tip not he ground flax, that’s definitely a good thing to know! : )

  20. Carmen — August 20, 2015 @ 9:19 am (#)

    I am sending these bars from BC to Ontario. The mail is approximately 10 days. My son is at the military college there. Will the bars turn bad by then as the recipient says they only last for 10 days?  Or would they still be consumable for a period after without refrigeration?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — August 27th, 2015 @ 12:58 pm

      Hi Carmen! What a nice thing to do! The bars should still be consumable without refrigeration, we would just be sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap during shipping. We hope this helps!

  21. VirtualC — October 8, 2015 @ 2:00 pm (#)

    Is there any  nutrition info?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 8th, 2015 @ 4:11 pm

      Hi! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  22. Melissa Gray — January 3, 2016 @ 7:45 pm (#)

    This looks delicious! I left the coconut out because I don’t like it, and I added a few dark chocolate chips…I know, but dark chocolate is good for you in small quantities, right?!?! Also, I used rolled oats instead of puffed rice, and I couldn’t find rice syrup in the store, so I used all honey. I added a dash of cinnamon, and used ground flax instead of hemp (only because it’s what I had in the house.) Can’t wait to have one tomorrow! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 3rd, 2016 @ 9:58 pm

      That all sounds awesome Melissa, thanks for sharing with us! We’re happy you were able to play around with the recipe and make these your own! :)

  23. paula — January 5, 2016 @ 3:38 pm (#)

    Where do you find brown rice syrup?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 6th, 2016 @ 10:41 am

      Hi Paula! You should be able to find it in the baking aisle of most grocery stores. We know Whole Foods definitely carries it!

  24. Private — January 9, 2016 @ 5:06 pm (#)

    I love these recipes, but nobody ever lists the nutritional content such as calories, fat, protein, etc.  Could you please let me know what it is for these bars.  Thanks. 

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 9th, 2016 @ 5:22 pm

      Hey there! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. The reason we currently aren’t publishing nutrition facts on the site is that the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate. We never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  25. Charlotte — January 23, 2016 @ 8:56 pm (#)

    Do you have any nutritional information for your recipes?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 24th, 2016 @ 4:41 pm

      Hi Charlotte! We’re sorry but we are unsure of the nutrition facts/amount of calories in this recipe. We currently are not publishing nutrition facts on the site, as the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate, and we never want to publish anything that might be misleading. However, a lot of our readers love the My Fitness Pal nutrition calculator, so feel free to try that for an estimate. We hope that helps!

  26. Vonnie greene — January 25, 2016 @ 7:48 am (#)

    How can you claim these are high protein bars when you fail to list the nutrition information.  I am diabetic and that nutrition information is vital.  I will not make a recipe without it, no matter how good the recipe appears.  I will not recommend your site to anyone.  Vonnie

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 25th, 2016 @ 7:52 pm

      Hi Vonnie, we’re sorry you feel that way. We hope you’ll understand the reason we currently aren’t publishing nutrition facts on the site is that the nutrition calculators available are not 100% accurate. We never want to publish anything that might be misleading, especially for someone who has any health concerns. Several of our readers like to use the My Fitness Pal app, which you may found helpful in providing a fairly close estimate. Otherwise, it might be best to consult with your specialist first, just to be safe!

  27. Amy Hustedt — January 25, 2016 @ 7:49 am (#)

    I made these over the weekend. Oh my goodness, are they good! I eat a Kind bar just about every day. I will definitely make these frequently. Instead of puffed rice (which I couldn’t find) I used one of the Kashi cereals. hanks for the recipe.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 25th, 2016 @ 7:52 pm

      Thank you Amy, we’re so happy you enjoyed them! :D

  28. Lainie B — January 27, 2016 @ 6:09 am (#)

    These look so good. I’m going to make them today. Thanks for sharing another yummy recipe!

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — January 27th, 2016 @ 8:42 pm

      Thanks Lainie, we hope you enjoy them! :)

  29. Becky — February 23, 2016 @ 3:02 pm (#)

    These look quite tasty! Do you have any recommendations to make them friendly for a 2-year old? I’m a little nervous to give him whole almonds and curious if it would work to put them in a food processor to break them up just a bit?

  30. Caitlin — March 1, 2016 @ 8:24 pm (#)

    Made these today.  Added a bit of cinnamon and they are so good.  Have already gone back to the pantry twice!  I added cashews, used coconut, and found Kamut puffs (another whole grain, lots of protein).  I used twice the amount of brown rice syrup and honey in order for all my ingredients to come together.  I have a new gas cooktop and found 260 degrees too hot for the syrup mixture.  I pulled mine at 230 and it mixed much better.  You are not kidding with how fast you need to be when mixing in the hot syrup.  I used extra parchment paper to press my bars down with, a very very sticky situation!  Tip:  Make sure to use silicon spatula/spoon and have pan right next to the stove and bowl for quick dumping, and use hot hot hot water for cleanup.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — March 2nd, 2016 @ 11:41 am

      Thanks for sharing with us Caitlin! We’re happy to hear you enjoyed them! Thanks also for your tip. :)

  31. Sue — April 5, 2016 @ 7:41 pm (#)

    What did you use to cut them with such sharp edges?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 6th, 2016 @ 8:19 am

      Just a really good knife! :)

  32. Ethan — April 18, 2016 @ 1:47 am (#)

    OMG I want to munch on these soooo bad. I’m trying to cut down on sugar and carbs, though. Is there anything I can use to get them to stick together that isn’t a syrup?

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — April 18th, 2016 @ 8:25 am

      Thanks Ethan — we hope you enjoy them! As far as using something other than honey, agave, or brown rice syrup, we’re not really sure. You could experiment with date puree? That would definitely give you the sweetness these need, and hopefully would help them stick together. Let us know if you give that a try!