Apr 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm #1271981
I tried her recipe some months ago, and it turned out good. Today I tried it again, and I made some changes to suit my own palate. Walnuts instead of macadamias. For the vanilla, I used half vanilla and half maple extract.
Also, I was trying to get better packing density, so when I had the breakfast cereal in the bag, I rolled it with a rolling pin, then crunched it by hand a bit.
It's still good. Thanks.
–B.G.–Apr 9, 2011 at 10:20 pm #1722628
So glad to hear that – thank you! :-D
Cran-Mac Caramel Bars
12 oz box cereal of choice
1/2 c dried sweetened cranberries
1/2 c chopped macadamia nuts
1 c honey
1 c white sugar
1 T molasses
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 c natural peanut butter
Spray a 9×13 baking pan with cooking spray or butter it. Set aside.
In a large and tall saucepan heat the honey, sugar and molasses till it comes to a full boil. Take it off the heat and quickly stir in the peanut butter and then the vanilla. Mix in the cereal, cranberries and nuts with a wooden or silicone spoon till fully coated.
Dump into the pan and spread out, then pack in tightly. Let cool for at least an hour to set up. Cut into portions and tightly wrap in plastic wrap.
These bars carry well in a pack and do not fall apart as they are dense and nicely sticky.
Makes one tray (bars depend on your concept of a "serving").
This recipe was featured in the March/April 2010 issue of Washington Trails magazine on page 35. http://www.wta.org/trail-news/magazine
For the cereal choose a type with texture, flakes and crunchies work well. It doesn't need to be a sweet cereal as the caramel base is sweet enough on its own. If you have a favorite high protein/fiber cereal, by all means use it. Look for a 12 to 13 ounce box preferably.
And of course you can swap in your favorite nuts and dried fruits!
For the peanut butter crunchy is the best.Apr 10, 2011 at 4:03 am #1722660
Glad you mentioned it, Bob. I'm always trying to find a better energy bar recipe, and this looks like a very good one to try! How's the shelf life on these? I'm working my way through a batch from a similar recipe that uses a ton of honey and nuts. They're a little over a month old and still wicked good.Apr 10, 2011 at 8:35 am #1722687
Around here they never last long enough ;-)Apr 10, 2011 at 9:21 am #1722699
"Around here they never last long enough" <- Not Helpful :-P
Long storage life is good for sending mail drops to myself on long trails. Otherwise, short storage life is fine.Apr 10, 2011 at 11:13 am #1722734
@jnelson871Locale: CA Bay Area
Sounds good to me. I will give these a try on my next trip. How filling are they? I try to keep my calories to around 130/oz.Apr 10, 2011 at 12:16 pm #1722766
Just cut them in big chunks. It satisfies the need for crunchy/salty/sweet all in one :-)Apr 10, 2011 at 12:48 pm #1722781
"How's the shelf life on these?"
I'm not sure. The first batch of these that I made some months ago came out a little sticky, so I wrapped each square with aluminum foil, and that was not air-tight. Then I stored a dozen of those in a plastic bag, and it was not air-tight either. They stayed good and crunchy for a month or two, and then the crunch got a little soft. But, that's OK. I didn't finish them for three months or so.
–B.G.–Apr 10, 2011 at 2:22 pm #1722828
@rosierabbitLocale: Pacific Northwest
I've probably made this recipe 20 times at least since Sarah first printed it. I, too, use walnuts, because they're what I have. I also double the walnuts and craisins in the recipe. I even made them once with a cup of chocolate chips, and amazingly, I didn't like them as well.
I've tried cheerios, wheaties, corn flakes, and bran flakes, and I've settled on corn flakes as my favorite cereal for them. I sometimes make two batches at once and cut each batch into 16 rectangles, then bag each one in its own baggie. They do keep just fine for several months – the longest I've tested their shelf life. Mr. B and I almost always take one each for our day trips, year 'round, which is why I make them so often. And of course, they're great for midday eating on our backpack trips. They do tend to get really hard when the temperature is below about 25 degrees, so if we take them on snow trips, we try to remember to put them in our pockets for awhile before trying to break our teeth on them. Someone in the first thread had asked about whether they have a strong peanut butter taste, and they don't. All the tastes blend nicely together.Apr 10, 2011 at 5:31 pm #1722929
Heh…the teeth comment had me laughing! When I first made them I still had braces on so I had to break the bars apart and mush each "bite" between my fingers and then eat.
Now I chomp away happily.
Eating (and developing recipes) has been SO much easier since my braces came off :-DApr 11, 2011 at 3:23 am #1723074
"They stayed good and crunchy for a month or two, and then the crunch got a little soft. But, that's OK. I didn't finish them for three months or so."
That sounds really great to me! I think I'll be making a few of these.Apr 23, 2011 at 2:12 pm #1728481
Alright, I'm a convert. These are fantastic. And relatively easy to make endless varieties. I'm on my second batch already! Thank you indeed, Sarah.Apr 23, 2011 at 5:00 pm #1728526
Thanks! :-DAug 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm #1904241
I just used batch of these on my CT thru-hike and they were one of my favorite foods out there. Very easy to eat, well balanced flavor. I'm going to try a batch with some whey protein to see if I can optimize them for long exercise sessions.Aug 20, 2012 at 1:34 pm #1904246
The only (small) problem I have with them is that they get very hard after a while. It would be neat if they stayed more on the chewy side. I'm afraid that I will break a tooth or something. I substitute walnuts for the macadamia nuts.
–B.G.–Aug 20, 2012 at 5:25 pm #1904324
Over what time frame did they get hard? They were still nice and chewy for me five weeks after I made them.Aug 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm #1904347
"Over what time frame did they get hard? They were still nice and chewy for me five weeks after I made them."
Mine were rock-hard within a week or two. That suggests that there was something different about the way that I cooked the caramel mixture.
On something like ordinary cookies, I can make them softer by under-baking them.
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