Cranberry-Walnut Power Bars
- ACTIVE: 20 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 1 HR 15 MIN
- SERVINGS: makes 16 bars
The Good News These gingery, nutrient-packed bars use only natural sweeteners like brown rice syrup and natural cane sugar. "Brown rice syrup has a nice, round flavor that doesn't give you the jolt of sweetness that processed sugars do," Swanson says. The recipe itself is very versatile: "Once you get the hang of the technique, you can swap in all kinds of other nuts, spices and dried fruit."
- 1 1/4 cups walnut halves (5 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups puffed brown rice cereal
- 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1/2 cup oat bran
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger
- 1 cup brown rice syrup (see Note)
- 1/4 cup natural cane sugar (see Note)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly spray an 8-by-11-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant and golden, about 9 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Transfer the walnuts to a large bowl. Add the puffed rice, rolled oats, cranberries, oat bran and ginger and toss well.
- In a small saucepan, combine the brown rice syrup, cane sugar and salt and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the syrup into the rice-oat mixture and toss to coat thoroughly. Transfer the warm mixture to the prepared baking dish and pack lightly with a spatula greased with cooking spray. Let cool for at least 45 minutes before cutting into 16 bars.