No-bake, naturally sweetened granola bars with cherry, almond & pistachio

When we got back from our summer in the UK, I decided to mix Baby Bu’s snack menu up a little bit, find a new recipe to keep things fresh. Baby bliss balls are still firmly on the menu, but now I have a new household favourite when it comes to homemade, nutty, portable treats.

Chewy, crunchy, fruity, nutty and nutritious granola bars.

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The fact that this is a no-bake recipe is an added bonus – it’s literally ready to pop in the fridge with just 20 minutes of prep. No need to keep a check on the oven and worry about burning them on the bottom – these little beauties just go straight into the fridge and turn out beautifully; ready to keep little hands busy, little tummies full and little bodies nourished.

Baby Bu is obsessed with Ella’s Kitchen Oaty bars, so I thought I’d find a homemade alternative with a few more goodies in. These are the perfect substitute. They store well: up to 2 weeks in the fridge. Or I’m sure you could comfortably freeze them in individual portions and pop them in the fridge the night before you plan to serve them.

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The recipe is pretty straight forward (see the full recipe below). Essentially, you mix all the dry ingredients (except the chia seeds) in a large bowl, then add the wet ingredients, mix until combined, add the chia seeds at the last minute, stir once more, and press firmly into a lined baking dish before chilling in the fridge to set. So simple. So delicious. So quickly devoured by everyone.

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The beauty of granola bars is that you can pretty much make up whatever combination you love, so long as you have the base of oats, honey, peanut butter and enough of the added dry ingredients to hold it all together. I tried different variations, but found that the combination of cherries, almonds, pistachios, vanilla, cinnamon and a little hint of coconut is delicious. The chia seeds, sunflower seeds and walnuts are in there for added nutrition, and add to the texture without detracting from the main flavour combination. They’re entirely optional though, so feel free to leave any them out if you’re missing the ingredients.

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The Gentle Mama’s Cherry, Almond & Pistachio No-bake Granola Bars

  • 1 1/2 Cups quick cook oats (either the instant ones from supermarket, or jumbo oats blitzed in the food processor for 20 seconds)
  • 1/2 cup pistachio slivers
  • 1/2 cup almond slivers
  • 3-4 tbsp chopped dried cherries (add more if you like it sweeter)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp walnuts (we use activated walnuts, which I love and plan to blog about soon. But you can use regular too, of course!)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup peanut butter (ideally 100% peanuts, but at the very least a low sodium brand). I haven’t tested it yet but i think almond butter would work equally as well.
  • 1/3 cup honey (can substitute with maple syrup if your little one is below 1 year old)
  • If these are for you, instead of your little one (totally understandable!), then you could add 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, which adds an addictive, slightly more savoury twist to it.
  1. Line a baking dish (i use a glass Pyrex roaster, 25×20 cm, (8×10 inches)) with a piece of parchment paper, with two of the ends coming up high enough to use as handles to lift the bars out once they’ve been chilled.
  2. Mix all of your dry ingredients in a large bowl (except the chia seeds, which would just fall to the bottom at this stage), ensuring they’re thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones, and mix until fully combined and no dry oats are left at the bottom. The mixture will be quite dry, but thats good. You can always add extra honey/peanut butter if its so dry that some of the oats won’t mix in, but there’s no need to worry if it seems unusually dry. Equally, if it feels a bit wet, just add some extra oats until you’re happy with the consistency.
  4. Add the chia seeds and give one final mix.
  5. Tip the bowl’s contents into the lined dish, and press down with your hands to fit into all corners of the dish.
  6. Use a glass/ramekin/other flat bottomed item to press the mixture down into the dish firmly.
  7. Pop it into the fridge and chill for at least 2 hours, but overnight would also work.
  8. Cut into bars of a size to suit the little hands you’ll be filling, and then wrap individually in parchment paper/foil or store in an airtight container in the fridge.

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Irresistible to little fingers! I struggled to take some quick photos of these whilst Baby Bu tried her best to unwrap and take a bite out of each and every one.

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I hope you enjoy them, and I’d love to hear what other combinations work for you and your little ones too 🙂

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