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Cranberry Granola Bars

A delicious, chewy and homemade treat.

September 4, 2018

Delicious, chewy granola bars that last up to three weeks? This adaptation of an America’s Test Kitchen recipe is perfect for care packages and after-school snacks. Gluten-free, too!

Makes 3- to 4-dozen bars.


  • 1-and-1/2 cups walnuts or pecans
  • 2-and-1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup halved dried apricots
  • 1 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 3/4-teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2-cup olive oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1-and-1/2 cups crispy brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup dried cranberries or tart cherries, roughly chopped


Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with two sheets of foil cut to fit and laid crosswise in the pan. Spray lightly with nonstick spray. (This is the hardest part of the recipe!)

In a nut chopper or food processor, finely chop the nuts (about 10 pulses).

On a rimmed half-sheet (18-by-13 inch) pan, spread walnuts, oats and sunflower seeds. Toast at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring halfway through toasting.  Remove and reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees.

Meanwhile, in the food processor, process apricots, sugar and salt until apricots are finely ground, about 15 seconds.

With processor running, add oil and water and process for about one minute, until an even paste forms. Check to make sure there is no liquid in the bowl, then transfer paste to large, wide bowl.

Add warm oat mixture to bowl and stir with a rubber spatula until mixture is well blended. Gently stir in cereal and cranberries, just until ingredients are evenly mixed.

Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Place a sheet of parchment or waxed paper on top of the granola and press mixture down firmly with your hands until granola is level and as compact as possible, especially edges and corners. Remove parchment.

Bake granola about 30 minutes, until fragrant and just beginning to brown at the edges.

Transfer pan to wire rack and let cool for 1 hour. Use the foil lining to lift the whole thing out of the pan, set back on the wire rack and cool for one additional hour.

Remove the foil and place granola on a large cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, cut granola in half crosswise, then cut each half into bars of desired size. Store in a container lined with wax paper or parchment for up to 3 weeks.

Cook’s notes: Don’t use extra thick oats or extra virgin olive oil. Use apricots that are soft and moist, or the paste will not turn out as well. You may use regular Rice Krispies cereal in place of the brown rice cereal.