As promised I’m testing out some new recipes for granola bars.  This granola bar is baked and has a cranberry jam filling that really puts it over the top.  I really love this bar for the flavors that come through and the surprisingly chewy texture.  I was almost certain that baking it for such a lengthy period would produce a hard crunchy exterior but it turns out not to be the case.  They are time consuming, mostly the prep time making the jam and the time it took to bake the granola but it’s time well spent when you take that first bite.  I can’t wait to try out some other dried fruits but cranberry is definitely one I want to make again.


The jam is going to take some time so get started with that first.  Measure 3 cups of dried cranberries.


Pour the cranberries in a sauce pot that has a lid. Add 1/2 cup of sugar.


And a pinch of salt.


And add 2 cups of water.  Stir the pot over medium high heat.


Stir the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.


Once you have a boil going, turn off the burner and place the lid on to steep for 1 hour.


Once the hour is up, pour all the contents into a food processor and pulse until it resembles a chunky jam mixture.


Something like this.


I felt it needed to be a bit thicker so I added 3 tablespoons of tapioca which worked wonders.


I had to wash the bowl of the food processor so I can now make the granola. Combine the  flour, oats and pecans in the food processor .


Along with the brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.


Pulse the mixture a few times until it resembles a coarse grind.


Add 2 sticks of softened butter and pulse.


Pulse the mix until it’s crumbly with the butter pieces no larger than pea size.


Pour your crumbly mix into a large bowl and add 1/3 cup of agave nectar.  Stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until it all comes together.


Now fold in 3/4 cup of rice cereal.  I added it last to save it from being crushed and saving it’s texture.


Reserve about 2 1/2 cups of granola for the topping and refrigerate.


Line a 9 X 11 inch cake pan with parchment paper.  Spread the remaining granola onto the pan.


Press it into the pan with your hands trying to make it level along the sides and on top.  Place in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 30 – 35 minutes.


The top should be golden brown but slightly soft, kind of like a blondie cookie bar.


Spread all of the jam with a spatula making an even layer over the granola bar.


Now take your reserved granola from the fridge.  It should have a big crumbly feel.


Top the jam with your reserved granola.  Sprinkle using your hands.


When you are done place back into the oven for 50 – 60 minutes. Mine went for 55 minutes.


It should be golden brown on top.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.  Grab the parchment paper and the whole piece should lift easily to a cutting board where you can cut into bars with a sharp knife.  Clean the knife in between slices for more precise and cleaner cuts.


I like to wrap them in wax paper and tie with corn husk.  They pack nicely that way and make less mess.


The granola is soft and chewy but holds together nicely.  The cranberry jam really makes this bar special.  The sweetness it brings to the granola is so much better than anything you could buy in a store.


Cranberry Jam Granola Bars  (Inspired from “Culinary in the Desert”)

Cranberry Jam
3 cups Dried Cranberries
1/2 cup Sugar
1 pinch Salt
2 cups Water
3 tablespoons Tapioca

Granola Bar Base
1 3/4 cup Flour
1 1/2 cups Oats
1 cup Pecan Halves
2/3 cups Brown Sugar
1 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
1 cup Unsalted Butter, softened
1/3 cup Agave Nectar
3/4 cup Rice Cereal

To make the jam:  In a medium sauce pot, combine the dried cranberries, sugar, salt and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.  Remove from heat, place a lid on top and let steep for 1 hour.

Transfer the cranberries into a food processor and pulse several times until the cranberries become a chunky jam. Stir in the tapioca, transfer to a bowl and place in refrigerator.

To make the granola base:  Combine flour, oats, pecans, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a food processor.  Pulse several times until evenly combined.  Add the softened butter and pulse until the mixture becomes crumbly with the butter pieces no larger than pea size.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl and drizzle agave nectar over the top.  Use a spatula or wooden spoon to work the mixture together, then gently fold in the rice cereal. Set aside and refrigerate about 2 1/2 cups of the granola crumbles.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cake pan with parchment paper so that it rides up the sides of the pan and can be lifted out after baking.  Take the granola base and pour into the lined pan.  Press the granola into the pan with your hands pressing into the corners and making it level across the top and sides.  Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until the granola layer is golden brown.  Remove from oven and spread the cranberry jam on top to make an even layer across the granola base. Sprinkle the remaining granola crumbles over the top of the jam.  Place back in the oven and bake until the top is golden brown approximately 50 – 60 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool completely.

Take hold of the parchment paper to lift granola from the cake pan and place on a cutting board. Use a sharp knife to cut into bars.  To make clean slices, wipe the blade of the knife in between each cut.

Makes approximately 16 bars