I’m always looking for new and exciting things to put in the Big Kid’s lunch box. Having a full-time summer job this year has meant that BK goes to day camp, one that doesn’t serve lunches. So, summer break has not translated into a break from packing his lunch. I will admit to having fallen a bit into the pb&j-Pirate’s Booty-sliced strawberries rut a few times over the past 6 weeks or so.
So, naturally, when Whole Foods announced its kid-friendly cherry recipe contest, I immediately started thinking inside the lunchbox.
This recipe, as written, is not very sweet, but it is also very versatile. You could add in a half-cup of brown sugar, maybe some dark chocolate chips if your family has a sweet tooth (and we all know that dark chocolate goes beautifully with these luscious cherries!). You could use honey as an alternative sweetener, or agave nectar for a lighter taste that’s still suitable for vegans (the golden syrup used here adds a deep, almost nutty flavor, so other sweeteners will change the flavor profile a bit). I see this being a great portable snack for athletic kids to turn to after a rigorous soccer or track practice, or a wholesome power-up before a test or a dance recital.
Not the Pits Granola Bars
makes about 12 bars
1/2 cup fresh cherries
1/2 cup fresh blueberries
1 fresh apricot
3 cups rolled oats (NOT quick oats)
1 cup whole almonds
2/3 cup golden syrup
2 T olive oil
1 t cinnamon
1 t sea salt
1.5 t vanilla
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Pit and halve cherries, and place on a cookie sheet with blueberries and pitted, sliced apricot. Dry in the oven until shrivelly but not burnt. Remove and cool.
2. Bump oven up to 350. Spray or oil an 8×12 baking pan (I used Pam) and line with parchment paper.
3. Place oats and almonds in pan and toast for 15 minutes, stirring once.
4. While toasting, whisk together in a large bowl the golden syrup, olive oil, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla.
5. After you remove the oats/almonds from oven, bump temperature down to 300. Mix the oats and almonds in with the wet ingredients and stir to coat. Add in the dried fruit and mix thoroughly.
6. Press mixture into pan. Bake for 25 minutes.
7. When completely cool, lift the mixture out of the pan using the parchment paper and transfer onto a large cutting board. Slice into bars. Eat and enjoy!