Tart Cherry, Dark Chocolate
and Cashew Granola Bars
(Family Features) For many, summertime is synonymous with outdoor adventures
and on-the-go activities, ranging from biking and hiking to swimming and tennis.
Choosing smart snacks that are simple to make, packed with nutrition and taste great
can help power you up without slowing you down.
"Creating DIY snacks with real foods, like Montmorency tart cherries, nuts and
seeds, gives your snacking habits an upgrade. Not only do ingredients like these
offer endless variety in flavor and texture; their nutrient density will also make
your snacks work harder for you," said Matthew Kadey, registered dietitian and author
of "Rocket Fuel: Power Packed Foods for Sports and Adventure."
Montmorency tart cherries, which are grown in North America, are packed with
anthocyanins – natural compounds that provide the ruby-red color, distinctive tart
taste and potential health benefits. For those bolstering their exercise regimens
this summer, there are added reasons to take a look at tart cherries. Studies have
shown that Montmorency tart cherry juice may help reduce strength loss and aid recovery
after extensive exercise.
1 cup chopped raw cashews
1/2 cup chopped raw almonds
1/2 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries
1/2 cup puffed rice cereal
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chunks
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon whole golden flaxseeds
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 tablespoon almond butter
Heat oven to 325 degrees F; line 8 x 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
In bowl, mix all dry ingredients together.
In small bowl, stir together syrup and almond butter until combined and gently
fold into nut mixture until completely incorporated.
Transfer bar mixture to prepared baking dish.
Using extra sheet of parchment paper, press down on mixture to form it to pan,
ensuring there are no spaces in mix.
Bake 15 minutes; allow bars to cool completely in pan on wire drying rack. Place
in fridge or freezer for faster cooling.
Remove parchment paper with cooled bars from pan and, using serrated knife, slice
into 10 even bars. Remove parchment paper from bottom of each bar.
Wrap each bar individually with plastic wrap.
Place wrapped bars in airtight container and store on counter for up to 5 days,
or in fridge for up to 2 weeks.