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Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Energy Bars
© Ryan Liebe

Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Energy Bars

  • ACTIVE: 20 MIN
  • TOTAL TIME: 2 HRS 40 MIN
  • SERVINGS: 12 bars
  • FAST
  • HEALTHY
  • MAKE-AHEAD
  • STAFF-FAVORITE
  • VEGETARIAN

These honey-flavored cereal bars with puffed rice and toasted oats, from Real Snacks by Lara Ferroni, make a great substitute for store-bought energy bars. They can be made with almost any mix of nuts and dried fruit.

  1. 1 cup pecans, crushed
  2. 1 cup rolled oats
  3. 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  4. 1/4 cup flaxseeds
  5. 2/3 cup muscovado or dark brown sugar
  6. 1/2 cup honey
  7. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  10. 2 cups puffed rice cereal
  11. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the pecans, oats, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds on the sheet and bake until fragrant, 8 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the sugar, honey, butter and salt to a boil over moderate heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved and a light brown caramel forms, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Drizzle the caramel all over the nut-and-oat mixture. Stir in the puffed rice and cranberries until evenly coated.
  4. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper, extending the paper over the side. Scrape the cereal mixture into the dish in an even layer. Cover the mixture with a second sheet of parchment and press down to compress it. Let stand until firm, about 2 hours.
  5. Discard the top piece of parchment. Using the overhanging paper, lift out the cereal square and transfer it to a work surface. Cut into 12 bars and serve.
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