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I am the grocery shopper in the house. I mean, obviously, since I’m the one who cooks and I know exactly what I need. On occasion, Rob will get some stuff for me if he’s out, and when he comes to the store with me, he’s the kid-wrangler/cart-pusher (which is awesome, by the way). But when he does shop, he usually gets treats, but I’m not complaining.
Let’s take the other day, for instance. He ran out to go to the bank and grab the mail. He came back with a box of Kombucha and some nutty bar from the health food store. He refused to let me look at the package and demanded that I try a bite (but not too big because it was his).
It was good, really good. It had a subtle ginger flavor, not overpowering, and the nuts were chopped small. Then, after I had my little taste, he showed me the wrapper with the ingredients and requested that I duplicate it.
I didn’t exactly duplicate them from the package. I wanted a more citrus flavor, and I had just gotten some navel oranges that I was planning on using for something else and these bars were just begging for orange. I also happened to have some orange honey that tastes amazing that I knew would be perfect. I got it from Sprouts and it came in a little bulk container with a deli-type label (from a local beekeeper). But if you can get your hands on some local orange honey, do it.
I also made Cinnamon and Cacao versions that are equally delicious. Make them all and then tell me what you’re favorite flavor is. Although I love the Orange, I’m actually partial to the Cinnamon. I love me some Ceylon Cinnamon!
FYI: my cost to make this recipe is roughly $6 (of course, your cost may vary). Even if you cut the bars larger, more like the store-bought bars, we’re still talking about $0.65 per bar. Compare that to $2.50/bar at the store, and I’d say that it’s totally worth it to make these at home. As if you needed another reason, right?
And just a word of caution, I create my recipes at 6,000 feet above sea level. That means that water boils faster and honey hardens at a different temperature than at sea level. If you find that these bars aren’t sticking together for you, it could be a variation in your oven temperature or because you’re at a different elevation.
The key is to make sure the honey doesn’t burn while at the same time making sure it gets heated enough to harden when it cools, resulting in a crunchy bar that holds it’s shape and doesn’t fall apart.
Honey Nut Bars
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment paper, leaving flaps on all 4 sides. Set aside.
- Roughly chop the almonds and cashews by hand, in a hand chopper, in a blender, or in a food processor. Pieces should be about 1/4" at the largest.
- Combine all ingredients except honey in a large bowl and stir until combined. Pour in the honey and mix with a fork until everything is evenly coated.
- Spread mixture into the prepared baking dish, pressing down to pack it in and reach all edges and corners of the pan. I use coconut-oiled hands to do this.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Your time may vary depending on actual oven temperatures and altitude. Watch carefully towards the end to be sure the honey isn't burning. It should be bubbly around the edges though.
- Remove from oven to a wire rack. Use the parchment flaps to carefully press the bars down some more and compact them while they cool all the way.
- After the bars have cooled about 30 minutes, lift the bars out of the pan by the parchment paper flaps and flip over onto another piece of parchment so the bottom is now the top.
- Reshape back into a square and press down a little if the flipping moved things around a little. Peel off the parchment paper.
- Allow to cool completely (don't rush it, they need to be cool for sharp edges that don't fall apart) and cut into (16) 2" x 2" bars.
- Wrap individually in parchment to keep them from sticking together. Eat within 2 weeks.