Orange Almond Healthy Granola Bars
Since my hypothetical Caribbean beach home is still under (mental) construction, I baked the flavors and warmth of a tropical island into Orange Almond Healthy Granola Bars instead.
February is the month when I begin to legitimately contemplate blowing my savings on a one-way ticket to Fiji. Old Man Winter has his muddy boots propped up on my coffee table, an unwelcome guest who fails to notice that I’ve done the dishes twice, bumped into his knees with the vacuum, yawned 37 times, and put on my bathrobe—get out of my house already. In the meantime, my Facebook feed is flooded with images of happy and tan friends, relaxing on cruises and sipping bright drinks with cheery umbrellas. Meanwhile, I’m counting cans of tuna, wondering how long we can last before I must choose between braving the cold to grocery shop and starvation.
(Disclaimer: I was totally that friend Instagramming my trip to San Diego a month ago. I am, however, still freezing and envious of my cruise-taking friends. I’m neither proud nor ashamed.)
Since we can’t pop down to the beach for a round of piña coladas, I baked us a batch of Orange Almond Healthy Granola Bars instead. With a double citrus burst of orange juice and orange zest, plus the island-appropriate addition of coconut, these healthy granola bars are a trip to the tropics for your taste buds.
- “Trip to the tropics for your taste buds” is hard to say five times fast.
- If you are reading this and can pop down to the beach for a piña colada, out of respect to those of us reading this in wooly knee socks and thick, knobby sweaters, close your browser immediately and get your swim suit-sporting hiney down to the water.
In addition to inducing happy warm thoughts, Orange Almond Healthy Granola Bars are wholesome and filling. With oats, wheat germ, and flaxseeds, these whole grain bars are fiber-packed. For extra texture, flavor, and fun, we have sunshiney golden raisins and roasted almonds. To bind the bars, we’re replacing the sugar and oil used in many homemade granola bar recipes with naturally sweet honey and heart-healthy almond butter. Orange Almond Healthy Granola Bars are fill-us-up, cheer-us-up breakfast and snack material!
If you’ve never made homemade granola bars, you are going to be pleasantly surprised by just how easy they are. They save well (wrap and freeze them for up to two months), are more affordable than store-bought bars, and don’t contain the long list of unprouncable ingredients.
Plus, your kitchen will smell like a Caribbean escape while these Orange Almond Healthy Granola Bars bake. Ahhhh.
I originally shared this recipe on my friend Stephie’s blog, Eat Your Heart Out. Check her out!
Orange Almond Healthy Granola Bars
- 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1/3 cup unsalted almonds, — roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- 1/2 cup natural almond butter
- Juice and zest of 1 orange — (about 1/2 cup juice and 2 tablespoons zest, divided)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 large egg — beaten
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving extra hanging off of the sides. Coat with cooking spray.
- Spread oats, wheat germ, almonds, coconut, and flax seeds on an ungreased baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 11-13 minutes until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring once half-way through. Remove from oven and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the orange juice. Let cook until reduced by about 1/2, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in the almond butter, orange zest, honey, vanilla, ginger, and salt, heating and stirring until smooth. Pour over the oat mixture. Fold until slightly incorporated. Add the beaten egg and continue to mix until the oats are evenly moistened. Fold in the golden raisins.
- Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes until fragrant and lightly golden. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Using parchment paper, lift the bars from the pan and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely (at least 1 hour.) Slice and serve.
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