It’s starting to feel like fall here in Winston, and I couldn’t be more excited! Fall is my absolute favorite season, and it always seems like the shortest. Just the smell of the crisp fall air makes me think of cool family walks, going to the fair, playing in piles of leaves, and eating bowls of hot soup.
But before I get back to sharing soup recipes, I wanted to post my newest — and now favorite — granola bar recipe: Coconut Cashew Granola Bars! My new obsession is coconut manna/butter, which is different from coconut oil in that it’s a whole food — pureed coconut meat. It adds a natural coconut flavor and richness to desserts, granola, and granola bars, and I can’t get enough of it! Combine it with the cashews, buckwheat, and other crunchy ingredients in this granola bar, and you have a nutritious breakfast or snack that tastes like a dessert!
Last week I was responsible for taking snacks to a group of Wake Forest students, so I spent a day making an assortment of granola bars: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Banana Berry, PB Banana, and a recipe I made up on the fly — these coconut cashew bars. And although I never thought I’d be able to top the peanut butter chocolate chip bars, I have to say that this coconut version is my new favorite.
I toasted the cashews, almonds, and coconut before chopping them and adding them to the mix, which really brings out the flavors and caramelizes the coconut’s sugars. I also added buckwheat groats to this version, which is probably my favorite ingredient to add to granola. It gives these bars another type of crunch and a slight graham cracker flavor that complements the coconut so well. If you haven’t tried buckwheat, now’s your chance!
- ½ cup raw cashews
- ¼ cup sliced or slivered almonds
- ¾ cup rolled oats (GF if needed)
- ½ cup buckwheat groats
- 1¼ cups brown rice crisps (not puffed rice)
- ¼ cup toasted coconut chips, lightly crushed (I used Dang coconut chips, but you could toast your own.)
- ¼ tsp. fine sea salt
- ¼ cup coconut butter/manna, melted and stirred before measuring (I put the whole jar in the microwave for a few seconds, lid off)
- ½ cup brown rice syrup
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Spread out cashews and almonds on a baking sheet and toast until slightly golden, careful not to burn them. Chop the cashews into small pieces, then add all nuts to a mixing bowl.
- Stir in the oats, buckwheat, rice cereal, and salt.
- In a Pyrex dish in the microwave or in a small saucepan over the stove, warm the coconut butter and brown rice syrup, then stir until completely combined. Add vanilla and stir again.
- Pour liquid ingredients into the dry and stir well, making sure all of the dry ingredients are covered by the coconut syrup.
- Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined 9x9 pan, spread it as evenly as you can with a spoon, then cover it with a sheet of wax paper and press down with your fingers. Use the side of a can to press the mixture firmly and evenly into the pan, all the way to the edges. If desired, press more toasted coconut chips into the top surface of the bars.
- Place pan into the freezer to set at least 25 mins before cutting into bars with a sharp knife.
- Keep bars in the fridge or on the counter in an air-tight container up to one week.
I’m interested to hear what you guys think of these coconut granola bars. I made a whole batch for my family, and it only lasted two days. I loved them so much, I’m making another batch as soon as I can buy more oats!
Granola bars are so great to throw into a bag and take with you as a post-workout snack, breakfast on the go, or a healthful dessert. But consider making two batches, because they don’t last very long!
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Yesterday we took Abby to an apple festival in Bethabara Park here in Winston. It was a great way to kick off the fall! There were food trucks, old-timey vendors, a petting zoo, and live bands. We saw at least 20 people we know and enjoyed all kinds of apple-themed food and drinks! And admission was free!
I highly recommend going online and checking out the events in your area. This was our first year at the apple festival, and we had so much fun! It’s always nice to get Abby out of the house and expose her to new experiences!