Berry Vanilla Cashew Snack Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup (114g) honey or brown rice syrup1
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (37g) almond meal2
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) almond butter (any nut butter works!)
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (200g) Diamond of California raw unsalted cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries3
  • 1/4 cup (30g) dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup (44g) salted sunflower seeds4
Special Equipment
  • Food processor or small blender to easily chop the cashews or make the almond meal (I love the Ninja!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
  2. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix the honey, vanilla, almond meal, salt, and almond butter together until combined. Fold in the cashews, dried blueberries, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds until combined.
  3. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press very firmly into an even layer. You really want it packed in tight- as tight as possible. Bake for 22 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack for 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 1 more hour. This firms up the bars which helps them stay compact. Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or parchment. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. I find they get a little sticky at room temperature over a few days, so I prefer the refrigerator.
  4. Make ahead tip: These bars are freezer friendly. After wrapping individually, freeze for up to 3 months and thaw before enjoying.

Recipe Notes:

  1. I do not suggest a thinner sweetener like maple syrup or agave-- honey or brown rice syrup are perfect.
  2. You can use store-bought almond meal or almond flour, or you can make your own. Start with 1/3 cup of slivered, sliced, or whole almonds. Pulse them in a food processor until a crumbly meal has formed. Do not run the food processor continuously; you may end up with almond butter. Little pulses are best. You will end up with around 1/3 cup almond meal.
  3. Sometimes I have a hard time finding dried blueberries in the store. If you can't find them, you can just sub dried cranberries.
  4. I like to use salted sunflower seeds because they add a little salt to the sweet dried fruit/honey. I love the salty sweet taste and I think you will too. If using unsalted, add another 1/8 teaspoon salt to the recipe. Instead of sunflower seeds, try using chopped peanuts, cashews, or almonds.

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