In these last few weeks, we have been treated to some gloriously warm weather. We’ve been able to get out climbing every few days and enjoy warm bike rides in the sun – it’s been fantastic! With these days filled with activities, it’s always nice to keep some extra snacks in the freezer for when we know we’ll be doing a lot. Enter our latest granola bar rendition – Cranberry Chia Endurance Bars. This tasty, portable snack has kept us fueled through our first few climbing days of the season.
These cranberry chia endurance bars have a few great attributes:
- No refined sugar: These bars use a combination of super sweet Medjool dates as the sticky base, along with dried fruit (cranberries, in this case) and coconut for added sweetness.
- Good carbs and protein: Rolled oats are a great source of complex carbohydrates, protein and fibre, as are the chia seeds. Both help to ensure your energy levels stay high throughout the day.
- Anti-cramping secret: Coconut water!! We love this stuff. It’s a great source natural of potassium and electrolytes, and we’ve found it helps us avoid leg cramps after a big day of exercise.
So here’s the deal with these bars:
You start off by soaking some Medjool dates in the coconut water until they’re really soft (maybe 15 or 20 minutes, depending on how soft your dates are to start). Then you give them a good whiz in the blender or food processor until you end up with a sticky date paste.
Throw in the chia seeds and let that mixture gel while you’re prepping the rest of the mixture.
For the main granola bar ingredients:
Grab some oats (large flake or quick cook), seeds (I used pumpkin) and nuts (I used walnuts and cashews). These get toasted over a medium heat until they start to get nice and fragrant.
Then, into a bowl they go, along with some dried fruit (cranberries and coconut are always a good pair) and the chia-date puree.
I’ll say a few things about these bars. If you’re looking for a crunchy, stick-together granola bar, this is not the bar for you. Even after baking, these cranberry chia endurance bars are still fairly soft and, depending on your ingredients, have a tendency to crumble. This is not a deal-breaker in my book, however. We pack these into a small tub and nibble away at them throughout the day.
If you want a nice neat bar, just make sure to chop up your nuts and seeds so they are fairly small in size. This will definitely help make the bars stick together.
Hopefully you’ll enjoy these bars as much as we do! They also make a great pseudo granola – just crumble them over your favourite yogurt for a little breakfast treat.
- 125 g (3/4 cup, about 8 large) soft pitted medjool dates, roughly chopped
- ⅔ cup coconut water
- 60 g (1/3 cup) chia seeds
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (or other neutral oil)
- 165 g (1½ cups) rolled oats
- 70 g (1/2 cup) pumpkin seeds
- 45 g (1/2 cup) walnuts, chopped into small pieces
- 70 g (1/2 cup) cashews, chopped into small pieces
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 70 g (1/2 cup) dried unsweetened cranberries
- 30 g (1/2 cup) unsweetened flaked coconut
- Place the chopped pitted dates and coconut water into a high-speed blender and allow them to soak and soften for at least 15 minutes. After this time, puree the mixture until smooth.
- Add the chia seeds and vanilla extract and pulse briefly to combine.
- Let this mixture set for 10 minutes, to gel.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the coconut oil until melted. Add the oats, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and cashews and stir to combine. Toast the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the mixture becomes fragrant. Add the cinnamon and salt and stir briefly.
- In a large bowl, add the oat mixture, cranberries, flaked coconut and chia-date puree. Stir to thoroughly combine.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F and line a 9 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper.
- Spoon the oat mixture into the prepared pan and press it down firmly to flatten. You may want to use a wet spatula to firmly press the granola mixture down.
- Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the top of the mixture looks dry and lightly browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow the bars to cool completely, in the pan.
- Once completely cold, remove the bars from the pan using the edge of the parchment paper. Use a sharp knife to cut the bars into the size of your liking.
These bars freeze very well. Cut them into bars, wrap well with parchment paper and store them in a freezer-friendly ziplock bag.
Enjoy these Cranberry Chia Endurance Bars!