Snack bar 8.0 today. The 8th addition to my healthy snack bar series and by far, one of my most favorites in the bunch.
But first (1) I finally have a new post up on my photography blog!
And (2) how was your Easter and holiday weekend? Ours was wonderful, spent with lots of family, great food, an Easter egg hunt, and plenty of dessert. I’m always curious to see what others enjoy on holidays, so let me quickly rewind to what we ended up serving. I made a honey brown sugar ham (to die for!), an asparagus salad to which I added some steamed snap peas, deviled eggs, pineapple upside down cake (used this cake for a large 9×13 pan and this topping), and oatmeal raisin cookies. I needed a little extra help, so my MIL made potato salad and my bro-in-law brought over fresh-baked rolls. In the morning we enjoyed maple pecan sticky buns and the night before was walnut crusted chicken, salad, and biscuits. It was all rounded out with a few too many Cadbury creme eggs and jelly beans.
I’m full until Friday.
New day, new week, well balanced eating is on my mind!
I’ve been working on some new snack bar recipes recently. Snack bars are an easy homemade alternative to processed foods. One of my recent new faves is this blueberry almond flavor. They’re like blueberry muffin Lara bars (love!), but have more texture. I’m all sorts of snacky lately and if you’re on the hunt for an alternative to overpriced store-bought healthy snacks– blueberry almond snack bars must be in your eating future.
Like usual, only a few simple ingredients mixed up in 1 bowl. Power players like:
- dried blueberries
- whole almonds
- almond meal/flour
- almond butter (or any nut butter)
And along with salt and vanilla extract for flavor/balance, that’s all you’ll need. If you want, add a dash of cinnamon. You won’t regret it. They’re dairy free, gluten free, and if you use brown rice syrup instead of honey– completely vegan.
The trick to success? Lightly pulse those whole almonds so there’s a few broken up pieces. The broken up pieces will help fill in the gaps so the bars remain intact. See that bowl of almonds above? That’s what mine look like. A few whole almonds, a few smaller pieces. I simply pulsed them in the food processor 3-4 times. I love the BIG texture in these bars compared to snack bars I’ve made in the past.
Like the small almond pieces, almond meal helps bind the ingredients together. Almond meal (also known as almond flour, if using blanched almonds and grinding a little more fine) is so easy to make at home. Simply pulse almonds until they reach a gritty and rough flour-like consistency. You can also buy almond meal at the store. Or you can use oat flour. Again, some sort of powder to bind the ingredients together.
The bars are baked for about 20 minutes to help them set. But good luck not eating the mixture before it goes in the oven. ( ↑ that beautiful stuff ↑ ) It’s a giant bowl of sticky, chewy, crunchy, salty, sweet, and nutty.
They’re best kept in the refrigerator or else they’ll become a little flimsy. You can also individually wrap them for storing or freeze them to pack for lunch/snack during the day. I also love ’em crumbled over yogurt or a smoothie bowl or, let’s face it, ice cream.
Here are 7 more flavors of snack bars to try: vanilla almond snack bars | chocolate peanut butter snack bars | berry cashew snack bars | chocolate cherry almond snack bars | cashew coconut snack bars | spiced pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars | quinoa crunch snack bars
Blueberry Almond Snack Bars
- 1/3 cup (37g) almond meal1
- 1/3 cup (114g) honey or brown rice syrup2
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) almond butter or any nut butter
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 2/3 cups (235g) whole unsalted almonds (very roughly chopped/minimally pulsed)
- 2/3 cup (70g) dried blueberries
- optional: 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
- Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, mix all of the ingredients together until combined.
- 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 20-22 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. 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 in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Make ahead tip: These bars are freezer friendly. After wrapping individually, freeze for up to 3 months and thaw before enjoying.
- 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.
- I do not suggest a thinner sweetener like maple syrup or agave-- honey or brown rice syrup are perfect.
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