I love it when I can make something delicious without having to bake it. These no bake Cranberry Granola Bars will give you energy for hours and are the perfect breakfast for those on the run, or afternoon pick-me-up snack when your energy is low. What better snack to take with you when you are camping or on safari. You can make them soft and chewy or hard and crunchy, either way they taste so good you will be wanting more.
We recently went for a midweek break to the beautiful Kirkman’s Kamp in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The restored original homestead of Harry Kirkman with its spectacular views over the Sabi River and bushveld, and the gracious service from everyone there, made for the best bush experience I have ever had. The highlight of our trip was the fabulous experience of seeing these beautiful Leopard in their natural surroundings. Although I have been many times to the bush I have rarely seen leopard – this was leopard country for sure.
I certainly did not need to take any snacks with me, as we were fed like kings at this amazing Lodge, but the beautiful winter colours of the bushveld reminded me of these energy bars, which would be a great snack to take to any outdoor destination you may be heading for. If you are camping these will last for weeks, although they do get softer and chewer as time goes on, but I think they are even more delicious like that.
Yes I know it is easier to buy granola bars, but do you know what is in them, have you checked what preservatives are added? These are super easy and take no time at all to make. I have added cranberries, but you could add raisins, or chocolate chips and crispy rice cereal for the children.
This whole experience reminded me so much of the beautiful book “Out of Africa” the memoir of Danish author Karen Blixen. who made her home in Kenya. It is a lyrical meditation of her life on a coffee plantation, and a tribute to the people who touched her life there. It provides a vivid interpretation of African colonial life in the last decades of the British Empire. The book has also been published under her pen name, Isak Dinesen. If you have never read it, you should try and get your hands on a copy or watch the 1985 movie with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Beautiful scenes of Africa and a love story as well. One of my favourite classic movies of all time.
“I had a farm in Africa at the foot of the Ngong Hills. The Equator runs across these highlands, a hundred miles to the north, and the farm lay at an altitude of over six thousand feet. In the day-time you felt that you had got high up; near to the sun, but the early mornings and evenings were limpid and restful, and the nights were cold.” – Karen Blixen.
The beauty of these granola bars, is that there is no need to bake them, they are quick and easy and healthy as well
- 3 cups toasted rolled oats (or if you have kids try 2 cups oats and 1 cup crispy rice cereal)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed tightly (Muscovada or soft brown)
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/3 cup cranberries (alternatively you can use chocolate chips or raisins)
Measure out toasted rolled oats and place in a bowl. If you only have raw oats, bake them in the oven at medium low heat until toasted.
Add cinnamon and cranberries and combine
In a saucepan melt the butter, sugar and honey and allow to boil. Once it has boiled turn down the heat and cook for at least 2 minutes. This needs to reach a caramel stage, the longer you cook it the crispier the granola will be. At 2 minutes it should turn out slightly chewy when added to the oat mixture.
Take off the heat and add the vanilla
Turn out into the bowl of oats and mix quickly in order to combine all the ingredients
Pack this down tightly with your hand, into a shallow pan which has been slightly greased. Pack it in to the depth you like your bars to be. You may only use a portion of the pan.
Cool slightly before cutting into bars. Do not leave it for more than a few minutes otherwise it will be very hard to cut.
Seal in an airtight container or pack individually with parchment paper