“Seedy” Apricot, Cherry and Pistachio Quinoa Bars (GF)

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Lately, I have been making a lot of granola bars. The kids and I love eating them for breakfast. Abba takes a few into work for a quick morning munch at the hospital. Obviously, anything is more popular if it includes dark chocolate and sweet treats, like soft, plump dried cherries and apricots.

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The crunch and surprisingly mellow, hearty flavor of the quinoa and oats is addictive. The bars are naturally sweetened with floral, local honey. Creamy almond butter and crisp pumpkin and sunflower seeds provide fantastic savour, healthy fats and diversity of texture. The food blogger at Anna’s Cuisine has a son with severe nut allergies. She substitutes tahini for nut butter in recipes with scrumptious results.

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I prefer quinoa bars served with a vanilla almond milk latte, spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. The hot beverage echoes the warm spices in the bars. My New Mexican piñon coffee is one thing I can never, will never, give up. Abba works eighty-hour weeks and travels. You would think he could use a bit of caffeine. Still, he will not touch a drop of coffee; he can’t stand the stuff. It’s a miracle we have been together for thirteen years, despite “The. Great. Big. Coffee. Divide.”DSC_2836

The oozing, melted chocolate quickly firms up and sets nicely. It isn’t messy at all…

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Well, unless you have a two-year-old “Littlest Guy” who makes sure the cocoa-streamed bowl is licked clean.DSC_2835You can absolutely individually wrap these bars in plastic wrap and store them in a gallon-sized plastic, zippered bag in the freezer. Just take the desired number of bars out the night before for a quick, easy breakfast on the go. Our family has completely stopped buying store-bought granola bars. Homemade ones taste better, are better for you, cost significantly less and are just plain fun to play around with. Maybe I’ll throw some plump, sweet Turkish figs or meaty, wholesome walnuts into the next, delectable batch.

The recipe comes together in a flash. Honestly, the best part of the preparation is melting the silky, dark chocolate and spreading it on top of the bars. It’s lush, rich and velvety. An added bonus: I have only met one child in my entire life who doesn’t love chocolate. Our family has strongly expressed chocolate genes.DSC_2831

Snu Magoo and Littlest Guy are my favorite, chocolate-covered taste testers. These unique, colorful “Seedy” Apricot, Cherry and Pistachio Quinoa Bars” are irresistible to adults and 100% kid-approved.

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Give this treat a try over the weekend, and you’ll have a fabulous breakfast for the whole week (or in this house, a few days). Check back in soon, and let us know what you think of the recipe.

Happy Baking,

Shanna & The Curls and Carrots Clan

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“Seedy” Apricot, Cherry and Pistachio Quinoa Bars (GF)

Loosely adapted from a recipe at Cooking Light

Ingredients:

1 cup uncooked, old-fashioned oats (gluten-free, if desired)

3/4 cup uncooked, organic red quinoa

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 teaspoon each: ground cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom

1/2 cup dried, flaked coconut

3/4 cup dried cherries, chopped

2/3 cup dried apricots, chopped

1/2 cup shelled and roasted pistachios, chopped

1/4 cup each: roasted pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds

1/2 cup creamy almond butter, homemade or store bought

1 Tablespoon water, if your almond butter seems dry

1 Tablespoon salted butter or Earth Balance, melted

6 Tablespoons local honey

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 ounces organic, 73% bittersweet chocolate

1 Tablespoon strong coffee

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

cooking spray

parchment paper

Preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 350•F. Line a 9×9-inch glass pan with parchment paper. Spray the parchment generously with cooking spray.
  • Toast the oats and quinoa in the oven for about eight minutes, just until light brown. Take care not to burn the quinoa. Place in a large bowl.
  • Stir in the salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, dried cherries and apricots, pistachios, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.
  • In a small saucepan, over medium heat, combine the honey, almond butter, water (if the almond butter is on the dry side) and dairy butter or Earth Balance. Bring to boil and allow to bubble for one minute. Pour over oat mixture and stir well.
  • Stir in the beaten eggs.
  • Using a metal spoon sprayed with cooking spray, evenly press the mixture into the prepared pan.
  • Bake for 23-25 minutes or until light gold on top and firm to the touch.
  • Melt the chocolate and coffee in the microwave, stirring after thirty-second intervals. Alternatively, melt on the stove over a double boiler. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  • As soon as the bars come out of the oven, use an offset spatula or rubber spatula to spread the chocolate mixture on top.
  • Allow bars and chocolate to cool completely. Then, cut into rectangles.
  • Store in an airtight container for up to a week.
  • Or, wrap individual bars in plastic wrap and freeze for up to six months. Thaw on the counter the night before for a quick morning munch.

©Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, shannaward.com (2013-2014), unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without expressed and written permission from this blog’s author, Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward, and/or owner is strictly and completely prohibited.

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61 thoughts on ““Seedy” Apricot, Cherry and Pistachio Quinoa Bars (GF)

  1. Mmmm, happy chocolate faces 🙂 Your kids are too sweet and I don’t think it’s just the chocolate genes!
    I have never made granola bars but these look rich and delicious. It’s great that you can add and vary according to what’s in the cupboard.

  2. I seldom eat granola bars, but these look great. Of course, I have to admit that it’s mainly because of the chocolate. 🙂 No big coffee divide in our household–my husband and I both drink our coffee black. He is not such a big chocolate fan though (weird, right?) Major disaster in our household when the coffeemaker has broken! Major disaster for me is not having chocolate to go with my coffee. (OK, that actually never happens.)

    Your little ones are adorable!

  3. Shanna I have to admit that your kids have distracted me from the recipe! they are so beautiful! congratulations! Now I’ll go back to your recipe in order to read it with attention… I’m sure is worth!

  4. I am not a coffee fan either. I love the smell, can’t stand the taste. I will drink it with lots of Bailey’s in it, that’s about it for me! The granola bars look great. We enjoy making them too, and what a great kitchen project for the kiddos. Your little ones certainly seem to enjoy themselves in the kitchen as much as mine do too! Enjoy the weekend.

  5. Oh, my Shanna! These granola bars are definitely better than store-bought ones; delicious in every bite! Your models and taste testers are absolutely adorable. 🙂 Too bad my little ones are allergic to nuts. 😦 The vanilla almond latte sounds yummy. I wouldn’t mind having a cup while my hubby can have his coffee. Yup, he’s a coffee drinker and I prefer to drink lattes or herbal teas. Have a lovely weekend, Shanna. Hugs to your adorable little darlings. 🙂

    1. By the way, thanks for mentioning my blog. It’s so kind of you. It’s very much appreciated. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Take care, Shanna and warm regards to you and your family, especially to your adorable little darlings. 🙂

  6. These granola bars are gorgeous! I have never made granola bars because I always find them…well, boring. But wait! Not yours. You have just pushed me over the edge and I best try a batch of these. My family will appreciate it, that’s for sure.

  7. Wow Shanna these bars looks delicious! I feel like heading to CostCo for some pistachios, that’s the only ingredient I’m missing.

    1. Yes, the quinoa is toasted with the oats. Later, it is baked. The result is a taste sensation that I can’t describe! You can use a flax substitute for the eggs to make these Vegan. Thanks for stopping by (and don’t fear the toasted quinoa seeds!). Best, Shanna

    1. I hope you do, Ken. I would just chop the dark chocolate and add it to the batter. It will compliment the cherries, apricots and pistachios. Have a fantastic ride: the wind in your face, an energy bar in your mouth. 🙂 Thanks for the visit! – Shanna

  8. I have to agree with the others how adorable your kids are! Those granola bars look great, too. I never used to drink coffee. Now I drink really good ristretto, once a month or so.

    1. Thank you, Stefan, for your warm words and the visit. I remember you mentioning that ristretto is not bitter and very smooth. It sounds amazing! I could certainly dunk an energy bar in a cup of it, biscotti style. 😉 Best, Shanna

  9. What a gorgeous post Shanna. Your kids are beautiful (yes, everyone else has said that already but I had to echo it myself!). I love both coffee and sweet treats, particularly in the afternoon when my energy levels are fading. I love the fact that these bars are both nutritious and delicious. Yum! xx

  10. While I love granola bars, I’ve never made them ever! I really need to peak at your recipes and make some! Your children have the most beautiful eyes, your bigger photos now really bring out how good looking they are… (As my mum would say: just like their mother 😉 ) xx

      1. I am elated to hear about your pecan find. I used them yesterday on some sticky buns. They go well in salads, cookies, brownies… YUM. Thanks for your visit and your sweet note. You’re too nice, Sofia. 🙂 xx Shanna

  11. ooooh amazing – wow that looks delicious Shanna, what a great breakfast, and you have the most adorable kids. so cute! I see you have found a way to have your carbs and eat them without leavening 🙂 – or are you allowed bread again? anyway, I must make this it looks so great. Happy Monday

  12. these look amazing, Shanna, and how awesome that they include quinoa! Cute pix of the kiddos, too. Need to get back on the granola bar train again myself. Been too long… Thanks for the inspire 😀

  13. I’m telling you, the junior chefs just keep getting more gorgeous all the time. Must be all of the fabulous food they get to eat (and help make)!
    Much love to all of you!
    Kathryn

    1. Melissa, I have fallen head-over-heals with nutty raw (but toasted!) quinoa. The first batch I accidently burnt. I watched the second batch of quinoa carefully and loved the flavor it acquired in the oven. My best to you and yours. – Shanna

  14. Sweets make everybody so happy!! (me too 😉 )…They’re just too cute your kids…but i have to admit that i’m thinking about a place where I can find some sunflower seeds…also quinoa it’s not quite easy to find here…

  15. It took me a while to get here, Shanna, but am I ever glad I did. Though I’m not much of a breakfast person, these bars sure would tempt me to change my ways. They’re certainly better than the few that I’ve bought, that’s for sure. Once again, though, your children stole the show. They are adorable.

    1. Thank you, John. These bars are wonderful when frozen individually. This way, they keep for months and are ready at a moment’s notice. I am not much of a breakfast person, though I cannot say no to a small, sweet treat in the midmorning. Warmest wishes to you, Shanna

  16. These bars look and sound amazing and I will try them soon! I have regular quinoa and peanut butter, so will try them that way. I love the melted chocolate on top; you can’t go wrong with that. Your kids are adorable!

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