Monday, November 21, 2011

Almond, White Chocolate, Cherry Granola Bars from Amie at My Retro Kitchen

The November event for the Cleveland chapter of the Ohio Blogging Association is a blog swap.  Bloggers from all over Northeast Ohio will be trading blogs for the day.  Participating in a blog swap is a great way to discover new blogs and introduce different readers to your own.  For the full list of all OBA blog swappers, please check out Poise in Parma.

I am paired up with Amie from My Retro Kitchen.  I was first introduced to her blog back in April when she featured Alicia (aka Poise in Parma) on her Fridays, Feasting with Friends segment, but I had the pleasure of meeting Amie in person at last month's OBA event.  Amie has some really great recipes so I hope you'll check out her blog.

Hi everyone!  I am so excited to be guest on Cooker Girl today- so fun!  My name is Amie and I write the food blog My Retro Kitchen.  The concept of My Retro Kitchen grew from the idea that a home-cooked meal is something of the past.  It is a retro idea. I think it is one of the best things a person can give their family! A huge part of nurturing my family is by feeding them well.  In my book, full happy bellies = a happy husband and children.  And when you have a happy family, you also have a happy mommy!

Jackson, my 4 year old son is my number one assistant in the kitchen.  He has developed a love for cooking and has a huge appetite for yummy food.  These granola bars are one of our most favorite things to cook (and eat!) together.  They are easy-peasy and so super versatile.  So easy, that it almost makes it silly to ever buy them from a store again.  Plus when you make them at home, you know exactly what is going in them- no weird processed stuff in these babies!!  Almond, White Chocolate Cherry is the most requested flavor, but don’t be afraid to play around with your ingredients; different dried fruits, mixed cereals, nuts and seeds.  The possibilities are endless!  
With the Christmas Season approaching it is time to start thinking about gift giving.  A tin of these homemade treats wrapped with a pretty bow would make a beautiful, heartfelt gift that anyone would love!

Almond, White Chocolate, Cherry Granola Bars
recipe from My Retro Kitchen
2 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup almonds
1 cup rice crispies
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon water
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup white chocolate chips, plus more for sprinkling on top
Preheat the oven to 325. Line a square 8" baking pan with 2 crisscrossed rectangles of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang at 2 opposite ends. The overhang is what will assist you in lifting the granola out of the pan for cutting.
Combine the oats and almonds and spread them out evenly on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and toast for 15 minutes. When the oat mixture has been toasting for about 10 minutes, combine the honey, brown sugar, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, oil and water in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar.
When the oat mixture is done toasting, transfer it to a large bowl and add the honey mixture, rice crispies, white chocolate chips and fruit; stir to incorporate. Spread evenly in bottom of pan, pressing down to create a smooth, even top.
Bake the granola mixture for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. After about a half and hour, press down again super HARD to make sure everything sticks together and you can get nice, firm bars. A measuring cup works well for this. Sprinkle the rest of the white chocolate chips on top and press down lightly.

Let cool completely.  I am serious here.  I know it is insanely tempting, but if you cut them too soon they will crumble everywhere and they won't be granola bars anymore.  Just granola.  Wait at least 2-3 hours before trying to cut them apart.

Once cool, lift out of pan using paper as handles.  Cut into one-inch wide bars with a large, sharp knife. Then, cut them again in half lengthwise. Store in an airtight container.  If you aren't going to eat them all within a week, be sure to refrigerate or freeze them.  There are no preservatives in these, so they won't last forever and a lifetime in your pantry like the store bought kinds.


  1. First, that pic of the family is just too cute.

    Secondly, I love this recipe! It's always nice to have something to grab and go that is a bit of a treat as well. Love that you gals posted such accessible recipes for everyone to enjoy!

    Thirdly,thanks for participating in the OBA Blog Swap!

  2. Thanks for the recipe (and participating in the Blog Swap)! I think I might try to adapt this quick treat for my nut/dairy-allergic kiddos... we are always in need of simple, sweet snacks on-the-go!

  3. What a tasty and easy sounding recipe! I make homemade granola all the time and will definitely be trying these too.

  4. Thank you all for the sweet compliments! This recipe is super adaptable, that is why we love it so much! I would love to hear how you make it gluten free, JC2. I am getting more and more requests for Gluten Free recipes these days...

  5. Amie - To make this specific recipe gluten free, all you have to do is purchase the Kellogs Brown Rice Krispies (must be the ones clearly labeled Gluten-Free) and gluten-free rolled oats (again, MUST be marked as gluten-free). From what I noted, the other ingredients are "safe." Some people with Celiac can't tolerate oats at all, but many can.
    I have become the queen of substitutions for dairy/nut allergies... swapping coconut oil for butter, coconut or hemp milk for cow's milk, omitting nuts entirely or using sunflower seeds/sunflower seed butter instead are my quickest "fixes." Replacing eggs, however, can be a bit trickier! :)