Cranberry-Pistachio Energy Bars

  • Jmc75244 Posted: 03/16/14
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    I opted for the cherry-almond option, using steel cut instead of old fashioned oats. Next time, I'll try starting with cooked quinoa since the toasted oats and uncooked quinoa didn't seem to hold together. The bars just crumbled without more liquid to bind them together. I will say my 15-year old nibbled his way through the batch, so that in itself is noteworthy of a solid recipe.

  • sharkins Posted: 03/29/14
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    I had the same problem with them falling apart... Hubby says they look like litter box scooping. Lol. But they taste really good and I'm just eating this as granola cereal with milk.

  • Sarah78 Posted: 03/31/14
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    I just made the cranberry pistachio bars. I followed the recipe exactly except for substituting coconut oil for canola oil and honey for agave. After cooling them on the counter for a few minutes, I put them in the freezer. They held together very well (but I did cut them a little larger) - and still fit perfectly in snack-sized baggies. I will be making the oatmeal raisin ones next!

  • PKFletcher Posted: 04/03/14
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    I followed the recipe except I used cherries instead of cranberries and cashew butter instead of almond butter. What a crumbly mess. I also am using the crumbles as granola. Tasty granola but I would not make these again.

  • hspoo34 Posted: 04/29/14
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    Unfortunately my "bars" became granola as soon as I tried to get them out of the glass dish, as they didn't stay together. Any suggestions one what I may have done wrong in the original recipe that caused them not to stick together?

  • SallyH Posted: 03/25/14
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    I used chopped dried cherries and no chocolate, as well as honey instead of agave. They are delicious and I can't stop nibbling. Perfect for gluten-free diets (I am not gluten free, and love them anyway).

  • MECooks Posted: 03/19/14
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    I made the cranberry pistachio energy bars and followed the recipe exactly. I am an experienced cook, and once the pan was completely cool, I cut into a big pan of crumbled mess. The only saving grace is that it tasted delicious, and we decided to use it as a topping for ice cream or as granola. I read the above reviews, and I actually liked the texture of the toasted quinoa. Just wish they held together as bars!

  • meighan71 Posted: 03/19/14
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    I made the recipe exactly as written (for the cranberry-pistachio bars)--they did not hold together at ALL--they completely disintegrated when I tried to cut them into bars. So I crumbled up what was left in the pan, and now it's granola. Very delicious granola, but I really wanted something more portable, so I probably won't make these again (unless I want delicious granola).

  • mjlj11 Posted: 03/23/14
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    The ingredients are tasty together, but as other reviewers have noted, they don't hold together as bars. Disappointing.

  • telebettyvt Posted: 04/07/14
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    Delish. I think the key so that they don't fall apart when cutting them is to cut them WHILE STILL WARM! I let them cool for around 5 minutes (so still quite soft), then cut with a fish slice/spatula held vertically into 12 (not 16) bars. I compacted them down a bit after cutting, as well. I've tried this recipe twice-once substituting 2 T. of agave with honey, then just with agave, thinking that it might have been the honey that helped to hold them together the first time, but the second batch was fine, too. Do not overcook the oats/quinoa either. I substituted dried papaya for half of the cranberries and it gave it some nice flavor and color.

  • karenhat Posted: 03/19/14
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    I followed the recipe, except I used my own homemade almond butter. (Placed roasted non salted almonds in to the Cuisinart until it was the consistency I prefer, very creamy). I allowed them to cool completed and cut them with a pizza cutter without issue. They are tasty and stay together better than the bars in the vending machine. I was able to store them in a container so I can take them to work for a snack at work.

  • LLundell Posted: 03/22/14
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    Okay, I am glad I'm not the only one they fell apart on. That being said, I am really looking forward to putting this "granola" on my yogurt tomorrow morning!

  • annabanana82 Posted: 04/11/14
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    Great recipe! I also found them to be slightly crumbly, but for the most part, they maintained their "bar" shape and they taste so good that I don't really mind. I guess some people cooked their quinoa beforehand-I did not and love the crunchy texture. I've passed this recipe onto 4 of my friends already and they love it, too! Will definitely make again.

  • massbaker Posted: 05/02/14
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    This recipe was a huge disappointment. As other reviewers said....I followed the recipe exactly as written. After baking them, I attempted to cut them into bars and ended up with just a mess of crumbs. Surely something was left out of the recipe for it to be such a failure? I hope Cooking Light will look at the recipe and make any necessary changes.

  • shannaward Posted: 04/08/14
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    I have made this recipe several times. I have adapted it in order to fix major textural issues. I recommend using one egg (or two, if mix seems dry), as this recipe has *no* binder. I also substitute a combination of sunflower and pumpkin seeds for half of the quinoa and melted butter in places of the of the oil. I no longer "boil" the wet mixture, but simply mix it. Dried figs, cherries and apricots are delicious in place of the cranberries, and I use cocoa nibs in place of the chocolate. If you do not have agave on hand, maple syrup, honey or any combination of the two work well when use in equal amounts to replace the agave. Watch your quinoa carefully when toasting; it cooks at a faster rate than the oats. Red quinoa burns *very* quickly. Line your pan with greased parchment paper. Best, Shanna (shannaward.com)

  • Shirling1 Posted: 03/30/14
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    Crumbly.

  • Ceridwin13 Posted: 03/26/14
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    We really liked these! Not sure why others had problems with the bars falling apart; mine held together just fine. The trick is to press the mixture really firmly into the pan (I used the bottom of a metal measuring cup for this) and then let them cool completely in the pan (overnight would be best). It's true that the toasted quinoa was crunchy, but we thought that was a good thing. We made the cherry-almond version, and the only thing I did differently was to use 1/4 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of chopping the chocolate because I already had a bag of them open. This is a keeper in our household- I'm already dreaming up a version with dried apricots in them!

  • vickierigsby Posted: 04/16/14
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    These are really good. I used honey instead of agave, only because I have local honey on hand. I replaced the canola oil with almond oil to make it a clean recipe. These are delicious. I actually toasted the honey with the oats and quinoa. I also added 1 tbsp of wheat germ. Can't wait to make the others!

  • Fernie Posted: 03/27/14
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    I made 2 batches of this recipe using 2 different brands of almond butter. The batch made with the Trader Joes brand came out fine, but the batch made with the other brand crumbled as others have stated. I think next time I make this recipe I will add less quinoa and more oatmeal, or leave it out completely. While I like the idea of the extra grain in there, it is very crunchy and sticks in your teeth.

  • MeginDQB Posted: 04/05/14
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    When I boiled my PB, honey, and oil it became very thick....did anyone else have that experience and was that the correct reaction needed? It seemed like if I had simply heated the mixture until it melted and came together the bars would have stuck together better??

  • jdyste Posted: 03/17/14
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    I should have read the comments first. I did not cook the quinoa first and it is really hard. I made the raisin peanut butter version. It does not hold together at all. I will give it one more try with cooked quinoa, but as it is, it isn't edible.

  • frauluise Posted: 04/06/14
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    These bars beat store-bought granola bars anytime. Will never buy again. Ever. I made 2 alterations to the recipe and they came out perfect. I cooked my quinoa and I used pure maple syrup since I did not have agave nectar. Delicious. They went so fast that I made up a bigger tray today. I substituted pecans for the pistachios and mixed peanut butter with almond butter. Cannot wait to try but I just took them out of the oven. Well worth the effort.

  • Sue0601 Posted: 03/17/14
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    The bars are delicious but I have to agree with the previous reviewer: they do not hold together well. I cut them 1"x4" as specified in the recipe. I think I would have been better off cutting them into squares.

  • nymphaeae Posted: 05/27/14
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    This recipe is excellent! To keep bars moist - avoiding the crumbling that others noted - I heated the wet ingredients in a microwave safe bowl for one minute and added dry ingredients directly to bowl to avoid loss during transfer (recipe says to transfer wet ingredients to bowl with dry ingredients). You also have to really tamp down on the bars (I used a potato masher) so the ingredients really stick. I also cut them into bars while warm and wrapped each in plastic before freezing. Great flavor and only 5 points plus Weight Watchers. Good energy food for bicycling!

  • sparklyredshoes Posted: 05/04/14
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    Mine came out perfectly! They didn't crumble at all. I followed the recipe exactly. I also made sure i pressed those suckers in the pan really well. I think waiting for them to cool all the way probably makes a difference. I love them. I'll definitely make them again. Everyone who tried then loved them! Success! Press super hard!

  • LoriABaker Posted: 04/08/14
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    In my continuing effort to find low sugar/sweetened food, I made these with just 2 tablespoons of sweetener. They came out delicious but will not hold together, so we are eating as granola. I am looking for a binding agent for the next batch that will hold them together. Any suggestions?

  • KatherineS Posted: 03/20/14
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    Very disappointed! I too followed the directions for the cranberry pistachio bars and ended up with a crumbled mess. Since I was not at all pleased with the taste, this was a complete waste of my time and ingredients.

  • lindamac1 Posted: 04/10/14
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    I had very good success with this recipe. The bars held together very well, and were still delicious one week later. The only substitution I made was currants for cranberries, since that is what I had on hand. Also did not chop the pistachios or currants. Maybe the key to holding together well is packing the mixture tightly in the pan before baking. And as a previous reviewer mentioned, cutting while still warm. I've already shared this recipe with two people.

  • health555 Posted: 03/19/14
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    The Cooking Light test kitchen really failed on printing this recipe. I tried the peanut butter raisin bar. After completely cooling, the bars just crumbled. I wasted my valuable ingredients and my time. Also, the uncooked toasted quinoa was not a good idea. It was very hard and probably not good on teeth while chewing. I may cancel my magazine subscription.

  • harpere87 Posted: 03/22/14
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    I tried these, and like the others mine completely crumbled. I have made other granola bars with similar ingredients that I didn't bake, just allowed to cool/solidify in the fridge, and they held together much better. I will skip the baking part and just make the other way next time. Otherwise they taste awesome!

  • soatesco Posted: 03/17/14
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    These bars are awesome. I added some cacao superfood/protein power for an extra boost. I really like the crunch the quinoa added (I cooked my quinoa). I have been experimenting with homemade granola/energy bars and I found these held together better than previous recipes I have tried. I would also cut them into larger pieces as another review mentioned - to end up with 12 bars rather than 16 since they are so delicious and will probably hold together better. I cannot wait to try the other variations.

  • susiecat6 Posted: 06/05/14
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    Absolutely delicious - exploding with taste and texture in every bite. My first batch was crumbly. For the second batch, I pressed and pressed until I was confident that the bars would stay together, and they did. Since my family cannot eat an entire batch within three days, I individually wrapped bars and stored in the freezer. We simply pull one out in the morning for a snack later in the day.

  • AprilSansagraw Posted: 07/01/14
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    I have made these several times and eat them for breakfast almost daily. They have never stayed together until I started using agave nectar in the raw instead of light agave nectar. That seems to be the secret, at least for me.

  • ucallmekat Posted: 03/24/14
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    I thought these were delish! I have already made them twice and do not have any problem with them crumbling. I probably added more chocolate than the recipe called for though. The chocolate melted when mixed with the warm oats and held the bars together when cooled. I decreased the amount quinoa a bit (increased oats), but did not precook it. YUM!

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