If you are a regular follower of this blog, you may have noticed that I eat a lot of nuts. As a diabetic who is trying to control blood sugars with diet and exercise alone, nuts have been my saving grace. I use almond meal as my go-to low carb flour and have gained considerable experience baking with it and other nut meals. When I am ravenous and need quick energy, I almost inevitably turn to a handful of roasted nuts. I simply don’t know how I would get along without them and I thank my lucky stars that I am not allergic to any. I also occasionally curse out the local school system for being nut-free. I fully understand why they are nut free and I take it very seriously, but I often wish I could send my children to school with some nut-based snacks, as they are both healthy and convenient. Quite simply, I am nuts about nuts.
This fact has obviously not escaped the notice of some people. I was contacted recently by a company called Oh! Nuts to see if I would be interested in trying and reviewing their products. Being such a nut-aholic, it was not an offer I could refuse. I had seen them online before, but never ordered through them. I told them some items I was out of and to my surprise, they sent me everything I mentioned. And it arrived on my doorstep less than 24 hours later. Now that’s what I call customer service!
I knew the first thing I wanted to make was these granola bars. They are not low carb, but I’d long had them in mind as a snack for my husband. This man eats a lot of granola bars, and we buy them by the case at our local wholesale club. They are relatively healthy, as snacks go, but I knew a homemade version would be better. And when I saw the gorgeous cashews sent to me by Oh! Nuts, I knew they would be the perfect addition to some homemade chewy granola bars. These are premium cashews, huge and flavourful. When toasted, they have that amazing buttery flavour that only cashews have. A perfect match for sweet dried apricots and crystallized ginger.
If you are looking for premium nuts, dried fruit or chocolate, I highly recommend checking out the selection from Oh! Nuts.
The Results: These are to die for! I’ve never attepted chewy granola bars before and I used a recipe from King Arthur Flour as a guide. But their bars have insane amounts of sugar, and following the advice of reviewers, I cut back on that by about two thirds. I also found that it really didn’t make enough to fill a 9×13 pan, so I quickly whipped up a bit more to make it to the edges of the pan. But the flavour is spot on, I just love it. I’ve had to make my husband take almost the whole batch to work to keep me from eating them, since even my healthier version isn’t kind to my glucose levels. But I did allow myself one on my birthday morning for breakfast, and it was amazing.
To my surprise, my kids liked them too. I think of ginger as a grown-up flavour, because I didn’t like it as a child. But after a taste of them, my middle child actually uttered the words “Thank you for making these, Mommy!”. Wow, you can’t ask for more than that!
The only thing I might do differently next time would be to chop up the cashews roughly before hand. The whole nuts were so large, they made it hard to cut the soft bars properly. But this recipe is definitely a keeper!
Ginger Cashew Granola Bars
2 cups old-fashioned oats (gluten free, if possible)
1/2 cup flax seed meal
1 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
2 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the ends for easy removal and cleanup. Grease parchment paper.
In a large bowl, stir together the oats, flax seed meal, cashews, apricots, ginger and salt.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter, sugar and honey together. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
Add butter mixture to oat mixture and stir until thoroughly combined. Spread mixture evenly in pan and press down firmly. Use the flat-bottom of a measuring cup if you have one.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes (they will be very soft), then lift bars out using edges of parchment. Let cool for another 20-30 minutes, or until starting to firm up. Cut carefully into bars using a very sharp knife.