Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Snack Bars

Chewy, crunchy, and wholesome pumpkin spice snack bars filled with texture and flavor. Grain-free fall snacking at its best!

pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars

Hello how are you. (sings to Adele’s new song )

Greetings from Boston. I’m here on my book tour, as you know. And I have two more signings here this week– a release party tonight and a signing tomorrow. Here’s the schedule, come stop by! Right now I’m here in my hotel room listening to the cars whiz by in the rain. My first night of relaxing in almost 4 weeks. Currently wearing a face mask and I’m soaking up every second of it.

To clarify, it is a moisturizing face mask not a Halloween face mask. Because that would be weird.

Anyway. I’ve been on cloud 9 meeting so many readers this month. I’m still in awe that all of you make me apart of your day not only everyday reading my blog, but for coming out to meet me. I keep saying it over and over again to myself… what is this crazy life? Thank you all for helping to make it this way.

collage of images of sally with readers at book signing

Ok, how awesome are all you guys?!?

So being on the road for almost a month, I made sure to pack some healthy snacks in my suitcase. Like, a jar of peanut butter (does anyone else do that??) and a box of whole wheat crackers. But I also slipped in some homemade snack bars! And you’re looking right at ’em. They sort of balance out sugar-laden pumpkin spice lattes, no?

pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars

So YES today is the return of snack bar Sally! If you’ve tried my vanilla almond version, my cashew coconut version, or my cherry chocolate version then you know why I’m obsessed. These snack bars are legit! They’re my version of a KIND bar, but homemade. Filled with ingredients you can see and absolutely no sketchy surprises. Being that pumpkin rules my kitchen in the fall, I had to whip up a pumpkin spice version. Complete with dried cranberries because pumpkin and cranberry is life.

These gluten free bars are made with nuts and dried fruit. And not much else! One ingredient you may not recognize– or maybe you do because you’ve made my 3 other versions before– is almond meal. This ingredient is used in my spiced pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars to hold the ingredients together. Like flour would do in another granola bar. For anyone not familiar with almond meal, don’t be scared. It is not a crazy health food store ingredient. It is just ground almonds– ground almonds before reaching the stage of almond butter. You can buy almond meal, but I find it’s much more convenient to make it at home. Simply pulse almonds until they reach a gritty and rough flour-like consistency. If you’re a visual person, I have it pictured in this post.

ingredients for pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars in glass bowls

ingredients for pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars in a glass bowl

Also in these pumpkin bars? Some roughly chopped almonds for crunch, pepitas because hello they’re pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries because YUM, vanilla extract for flavor, and almond butter to bind. And don’t forget plenty of pumpkin pie spice for all that incredible spice flavor. Ahhhh you’re going to love these!

Because you’re so sweet, I add 1/4 cup of honey. But in reality, honey is used for binding. Like I’ve mentioned in my previous snack bar recipes, I do not recommend thinner liquid sweeteners like maple syrup or agave. You want a thick liquid sweetener. Brown rice syrup works too.

Bake the snack bars– only about 20 minutes or so. Just until they are relatively set and the ingredients bind together properly. Then, you’ll let them chill in the refrigerator to fully set. Then snack on, my pumpkin people. I’m awkward.

pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars

They’re salty & sweet, spiced, easy, crunchy, wholesome, chewy, and gluten free. I packed a batch for each leg of the book tour so far and they never last more than 3 days. #snackbarsally

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pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars

Spiced Pumpkin Seed Cranberry Snack Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 12 bars
  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Chewy, crunchy, and wholesome pumpkin spice snack bars filled with texture and flavor. Grain-free fall snacking at its best!


Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (91g) honey*
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup (30g) almond meal*
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice*
  • 1 Tablespoon (15g) almond butter
  • 1 and 1/3 cups (187g) whole almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup (60g) dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup (104g) salted pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)*

Instructions

  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, pumpkin pie spice, and almond butter together until combined. Fold in the almonds, dried cranberries, and pepitas 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 20-22 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 helps firm up the bars which makes 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.

Notes

  1. Freezing Instructions: These bars are freezer friendly. After wrapping individually, freeze for up to 3 months and thaw before enjoying.
  2. Sweetener: I do not suggest a thinner sweetener like maple syrup or agave– honey or brown rice syrup is perfect.
  3. Almond Meal: You can use store-bought almond meal or almond flour, or you can make your own. Start with 1/4 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 1/4 cup almond meal.
  4. Pumpkin Pie Spice: Instead of pumpkin pie spice, you can use 1/4 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, ground ginger, and 1/8 teaspoon each ground cloves and ground allspice.
  5. Pepitas: I like to use salted pepitas because they add a little salt to the sweet dried cranberries/honey. I love the salty sweet taste! If using unsalted, add another 1/8 teaspoon salt to the recipe OR use salted almonds.
  6. Special Tools: Food processor or small blender to easily chop the almonds or make the almond meal (here’s the own I own and love!), Glass Mixing Bowls, Mariani Pitted Dates, Square Glass Baking Dish

Keywords: snack bars, pumpkin cranberry granola snack bars

More gluten free recipes! And plenty more healthier choices for you too.

57 Comments

  1. Andrea | Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    I’m a huge fan of Kind Bars,and these bars look exactly like them. Your version of the Kind bars is definitely perfect for this time of year, and I can’t wait to give these a try soon. And oh my gosh, yes! I love Adele’s new song. =)

  2. I knew you were my peanut butter soul sister! I once had a jar of PB confiscated by airport security (apparently some count it at a liquid, what???), and I still maintain that the guards just wanted a snack!
    I’ve loved following your book tour online. Enjoy every crazy minute!

    1. Oh Erin, trust me. I tried to get PB through security as well. They have no tolerance for it! So I just put it in my checked luggage. But it’s not the same. What if I want a spoonful on the plane? Why is life so hard?

      1. Linda @ Today She Loves says:

        The struggle is real.

  3. Amy @ Thoroughly Nourished Life says:

    Firstly, so sad that I missed catching up with you on your book tour! I owe you a PSL next time I’m in your corner of the world!
    Secondly, I fell in lurve with KIND bars while we were travelling and they were a breakfast and snack saviour for this GF gal who gets hangry real fast! Now I can make them at home all by myself! Or, with my fiance (he upgraded me from girlfriend while we were in Washington DC!) sitting in the kitchen, wondering why there aren’t chocolate chips in this particular baked good 😉
    So happy to see the return of snack bar Sally! Happy travels. Also, a face mask and a bubble bath sound really good right now!

    1. CONGRATS on the engagement Amy! So happy for you. Wish we could’ve crossed paths. Next time, obviously. xo

  4. Heather (Delicious Not Gorgeous) says:

    i always have this problem where the mask is too wide for my face (maybe it’s my brand? or maybe my face is weirdly proportioned haha). glad to hear you’re having an amazing time on tour (wish i could see you on this one, but maybe the next one!).

  5. I loved your vanilla almond bars so I’m sure I’m going to love these. It’s the perfect recipe to use the bag of almonds you gave me when I met you! I wish there was some way to make these less sticky at room temperature. I’d love to keep a stash of these at work.

    1. Krithika– a little tip– bake the bars for 5 minutes longer. This will help firm them up and avoid too much stick!

  6. Will you be selling your book at either of your Chicago stops? Also, these snack bars look delicious!! 🙂

    1. Yes, at both!

  7. Ramona @ The Merchant Baker says:

    I love the flavors in this bar! I keep saving snack bar recipes…but I haven’t made any yet and I should.  They’re too easy not to and these look delicious! Though, I’ll admit I’m a little distracted by that pumpkin bar just below the recipe…loving that one too!

  8.  Is brown rice syrup, by chance, any less sweet then honey? I’ve been making all the versions of your snack bars for a few months now and my husband and I were commenting that they are seeming a little bit too sweet for us now. Wondering how I can make them less sweet while still making everything buying together. Hmmmm…

    1. An egg white will help to bind and can replace some honey. I reduced the amount of honey in these too!

      1. Hi Sally,

        Would you just add 1 egg white(beaten?), then how much would you reduce the honey by?

        Thanks!!

  9. Ha ha, that’s great – I always take peanut butter with me when I travel! All the comforts of home. Thanks for more awesome fall recipes – I cannot get enough pumpkin (and I’m SO addicted to the pumpkin chocolate chip bread).

  10. These sound delicious and I will have to try them.  I dabble with low carb so always have almond flour on hand.  I did cheat and make homemade brownies on the weekend.  They are def worth it!  Took way longer to bake – not sure why – but they are fabulous!

  11. Can I use peanut butter instead of almond butter? Natural or not?

    1. You can use peanut butter– natural should be OK as long as it is not too oily.

      1. Thanks for the response, sister! Will try them, and get back to you 🙂

  12. Noelle Bigalk says:

    These Sound fabulous! My bff and I are coming to see you in Chicago on the 14th, so excited! Will you be signing your cookbook all day or just until the show at 2:oo. What is your schedule? Can’t wait.

    1. Hi Noelle! So excited you are coming to see me in Chicago and at the baking show, at that. My 1 hour demo is at 2pm and I am signing books right after.

      1. Also, do we have to purchase additional tickets for your show? I have been following you for about a year. I am a 49 year old avid baker from Iowa. I am in love with your baking and you are just adorable! OH, and my husband is in love with your pumpkin cinnamon chip cookies (so is everyone else). Thanks for responding, so glad you are coming to Midwest! Noelle

      2. Just the tickets for the show will allow you to get into my demo. I’ve went over that with the show’s organizers quite a few times!

  13. Hi Sally!  I love your first cookbook…you have turned me into an actual ‘baker’!  My daughter has a nut allergy, so it’s virtually impossible for her to have KIND bars.  The only safe nuts are pecans and pistachios.  I was wondering how I could tweak this recipe for her.  I was thinking I could use sunflower butter and pecans as a substitute for the almond butter and almonds, but I wasn’t sure about the almond meal.  Maybe oatmeal that I have processed? Thanks for your help!

    1. Easy fix Rachel! You can use oat flour, sunflower seed butter, pecans/pistachios! Yes, will absolutely work.

    2. Hi I know this is really old but my son has allergies to all nuts and I always use pumpkin seed meal as a sub for any recipes for almond meal.  So far it’s been a perfect sub.  But from Gerbs or make your own.  

  14. Linda @ Today She Loves says:

    Um, is it December yet? I love seeing your book adventures! I have yet to make your recipe for granola snack bars and loving this pumpkin one. 

  15. Stella @ Stellicious Life says:

    I always love reading/seeing photos of your book tour 🙂

    And these bars, YUM! I LOVE anything pumpkin and the addition of pumpkin spice, cranberries, almond make this my favourite snack bar, will a
    have to make it asap!

    Have a great weekend! 🙂

  16. Seeing your book tour pics on Insta always makes me smile so big! You rock Sally. Especially for using Adele’s song (<3). WOW I am so impressed with these bars! They hold together so well and have so much wonderful stuff packed in them! Almond butter is life!

    1. BEST SONG EVER!

  17. Jess @ Sweetest Menu says:

    I am always on the hunt for easy snack ideas that i can make at home – these look wonderful Sally! I look forward to trying them 🙂

  18. I can’t wait to make this with your nut-free recommendations above! YUM! Hoping to catch you in NY next week! XO

  19. Amy @ Amy's Healthy Baking says:

    I was totally tempted to bring a jar of almond butter on my last trip! But… I wasn’t sure if it counted as a “liquid” to TSA and whether they’d confiscate it at security. Did you check your PB or carry it on?? And I would definitely love a few of these on my next trip — there’s never such a thing as too many pumpkin spice snacks!

    1. It IS liquid to them! They confiscated it when I tried. So now I just check it with my luggage.

  20. I love your cashew bars and have made them a few times. These look great. So sorry you were in my home state but too far to get to at the allotted times. So glad it went well. Airport security took my peanut butter once too.

  21. Bernice @ Doughverload says:

    I have been following your book tour adventures on snapchat from the other side of the world and wishing that you would come to Australia! These look awesome, Sally, and congratulations on all your success!

    1. Thanks Bernice! Would love to visit Australia someday!

  22. Do you think I could use walnut meal instead of almond meal? My grandpa just bought a bag of walnuts and there was a ton of it in the bottom of the bag. I am looking for a good way to use it so it does not get wasted.

    1. I can’t see why not!

  23. I was wondering if you ever make your own pumpkin seeds and if you do um if you have a favorite recipe for them?? 

  24. Just took these out of the oven.. I burnt them slightly, but they still look amazing! My modifications:
    Brown rice syrup, almonds AND cashews, pumpkin seeds AND sunflower seeds, I added goji and coconut rather than cranberries, and I mixed almond meal with flax meal!!! 🙂

  25. Really Wonderful TIps. I want to make this at my home. I dont know i can or i cannt. But i will try make this. Thanks for your good recipe tips.

  26. They’re so easy, yes! Have you tried my chocolate cherry version yet? Same concept. So easy!

  27. These are AMAZING! I just found your blog and it is wonderful!! I have made 3 of the snack bar recipes and these are by far my favorite so far. My hubby who is a cookie monster loves them too so these will be the new staple at our house. So much healthier than white sugar and flour treats! Thank you so much!

    1. I have more snack bar recipes coming soon, too!

  28. A healthy, refined sugar free snack is just what I need right now. Have the ingredients on the grocery list, and may or may not be adding dark chocolate chips into the mix over the cranberries 😉 

  29. When is the best time to cut them into bars?

    1. In step 3 after they chill in the refrigerator.

  30. Have you tested if these bars can be frozen and if they keep their taste and texture once they’re thawed?

    1. Yes, I do freeze them! See recipe note #1 for instructions.

      1. Thank you, I just realized you had already mentioned it in the recipe notes oops!

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