These granola bars have some unique flavors. Amaranth and flax seeds give it a very deep, earthy flavor while adding good texture. The almonds give big crunch and the cherries add pops of sweetness. If you can’t find amaranth, just substitute with more oats. If your mixture comes out too crumbly, don’t worry! Really crumble it up and its delicious granola…just not in bar form.
2 cups of rolled oats (you can use quick oats if you need to, but old fashioned rolled are best)
1 1/2 cups of whole almonds
1/2 cup of whole flax seeds
1/4 cup of amaranth
1 cup dried cherries, chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup of honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
Adapted from an Alton Brown recipe
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Thoroughly butter a 9×9 baking dish. Evenly distribute your oats on a baking sheet and the almonds on another baking sheet. Place in oven for about 10 minutes, or until the oats are lightly toasted and the almonds are fragrant. When cool, chop the almonds into small pieces. Pour oats and almonds into a large bowl. Reduce the temperature in the oven to 300.
2. Pop the amaranth by heating a large skillet on high heat until very hot. Pour only a few tablespoons of amaranth in at a time. You’ll know when they pop; they jump about and are lighter in color. Reduce heat to medium-high after the first batch. As you go, transfer the popped amaranth into the large bowl with oats and almonds.
3. Once the amaranth is done, toast the flax in the pan on medium heat for about three minutes. They might pop a bit too if the pan is still extremely hot. Add to big bowl.
4. Add the cherries to the big bowl and stir the ingredients until combined.
5. In a medium sauce pan, cook the honey, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt on medium heat until the sugar is totally dissolved. Pour over the mixture in the big bowl and stir quickly until combined.
6. Pack the granola mixture into the baking dish very tightly. Use the bottom of a measuring cup or glass to really make sure everything is smushed together.
7. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least a few hours. Use a knife to loosen the edges, then flip the mixture out. If you find it isn’t coming out, cut the mixture in half and use a spatula to pry the two halves out. At this point you can cut them up and store in a container (for a week) or melt chocolate over the tops for a more decadent treat!