Confession #100: I’m No Good at Resolutions… Chocolate-Drizzled Cranberry and Pistachio Bars

by alexandra

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First post of 2013! We’re going healthy today, because I think many of us are probably in the market for healthy recipes right now. There’s all of that “New Year, new you” stuff going on, and even if eating healthier isn’t really one of your New Year’s resolutions, I think we all feel a bit of pressure to start out the year eating healthier. It’s kind of like an annual trend, don’t you think?

Chocolate-Drizzled Cranberry and Pistachio Bars

Most years I have some sort of health-related goal or resolution, but here’s the thing: the whole formal “resolution” deal doesn’t work too well for me. I come up with a mental list of New Year’s Resolutions, only to forget them in about… a week. New Week Resolution?? One year I actually tried jotting them down in my phone, and setting a reminder so that every day I’d get an alert and hopefully not forget them. Well, the thing about phone reminders is that I can handle them for a day or two and then it starts to drive me nuts. I ended up quickly clicking the reminder away every time it popped up, which lasted about a month, at which point I finally just canceled the whole alert.

Chocolate-Drizzled Cranberry and Pistachio Bars

This year, I think I’ve just decided to come up with a couple goals, tuck them away in the back of my mind, and hope that somehow I’ll keep a few of them without ever thinking about it. In the mean time, I’m hoping that sharing a healthy recipe gets us all off to a good start for 2013. If you’ve found yourself on a holiday sugar-high lately, these bars are the perfect cure, because they’re packed with some of those classic holiday flavors we all love, but in a much healthier version. The ingredients are simple and there’s no butter, oil, flour, or refined sugar in sight. They’re no-bake and SO easy to put together. All that, and they’re so good you won’t miss all the unhealthy holiday treats!

Chocolate-Drizzled Cranberry and Pistachio Bars

If you’re thinking this all sounds too good to be true, here’s how it works: Brown rice cereal and rolled oats act as the base ingredients for the bars and add texture and crunch. We use a combination of almonds and pistachios to make a natural nut butter that binds the bars together. Honey helps with the binding too, while adding its own natural sweetness (and who would say no to the sweet taste of honey?). The dried cranberries add more sweetness and flavor, plus they go perfectly with the pistachios and the final ingredient: chocolate. The light drizzle of bittersweet chocolate on top gives the bars that bit of indulgent flavor we all look for, without ruining the health benefits of our new snack. And because none of these ingredients require any baking, all we need to do is pop them in the fridge for a bit to firm up, and we’ve got a chewy, flavorful snack bar with sweetness, crunch, and not an ounce of guilt. #YUM

Chocolate-Drizzled Cranberry and Pistachio Bars

12 bars

Chocolate-Drizzled Cranberry and Pistachio Bars

These Chocolate-Drizzled Cranberry and Pistachio Bar have all of the flavors you love from the holidays packed into a healthier treat that you can feel good about eating!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted pistachio nutmeats, divided
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice cereal*
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats*
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips (or chopped bittersweet chocolate)

Instructions

  1. Line an 8" square pan with foil. Spray foil with a non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, process 1/2 cup of pistachio nutmeats with almonds until a smooth butter forms, about eight minutes. Wipe down the bottom and sides of the bowl and process for another 1-2 minutes, until smooth again.
  3. While the food processor is working, whisk together the remaining 1 cup pistachio nutmeats, brown rice cereal, rolled oats, dried cranberries, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until evenly combined.
  4. Add the pistachio almond butter and the honey to the dry ingredients and stir in until evenly incorporated.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and pat down very firmly to cover the entire pan in a flat, compact layer. Cover with plastic wrap (here you can use your hands over the plastic wrap to press the mixture down further if needed) and place in the fridge to chill and firm up, about 2 hours at least.
  6. Once the mixture has chilled thoroughly, cut into bars with a sharp knife (I made 12 - two rows of 6). If the bars seem to be too fragile to hold together, keep them in the pan after cutting and chill overnight before separating. Once ready to separate, use the foil to lift the bars out of the pan, and then carefully separate out onto a large plate or tray.
  7. Place the dark chocolate in a small bowl and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir (even if they don't look melted yet), and then microwave for another 30 seconds if needed, stirring again afterwards.
  8. Lightly drizzle the melted chocolate over each bar using a small spatula or a spoon. Place the bars back into the fridge to chill until the chocolate hardens.
  9. Bars store well wrapped individually in plastic wrap and kept in the fridge.

Notes

*These bars are gluten-free if made with gluten-free brown rice cereal and gluten-free rolled oats.

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And while we’re on the subject: Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions for 2013? Are any of them health-related? How do you keep your resolutions? – I could use the advice!

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Erika January 3, 2013

Haha, I WISH I could give you advice about keeping resolutions! I’m so bad about keeping them that I didn’t even make one this year. But then my dentist asked me if I’d made one and I felt lame about not…so my New Years resolution is to not eat any added sugar…for a week. Yeah, we’ll see how that goes. I was hoping to satiate my sweet tooth with larabar copycats and all-natural PB&Js, but it’s been a day and a half and I’m ready for cake. But um…maybe I’ll have to try these (sans chocolate) to help me out! I’m trying to decide if honey counts as no added sugar…? I want to say yes!!

Anyway, I like your method of keeping a few ideas in the back of your mind. That’s more of my style too and maybe it’ll help calm my sugar consumption at least a little!
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alexandra January 3, 2013

Hah! I totally understand how you feel. Giving up sugar for even a week sounds not so fun…
I think you could say honey is okay because it’s not refined sugar- all natural, you know? Especially for anyone who bakes, I think you have to count honey as excusable. ;)

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Laura (Tutti Dolci) January 3, 2013

These bars look fab! I always carry snacks with me so these would be perfect!
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alexandra January 3, 2013

I agree; I’m always looking for new healthy snack options. These are great for that!

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Heidi @ Food Doodles January 4, 2013

No worries, I don’t do resolutions well either :) I’m more of a long term goal type person.
Your bars are so pretty! I love how gorgeous those pistachios are. Not to mention the bars sound perfect for me, I love the rest of the ingredients too! :)
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alexandra January 5, 2013

Thank you!
And it’s kind of comforting to hear I’m not the only one who has trouble with “resolutions”. I feel like it’s just easier to try to better yourself over time, you know? But specific goals are a little
tough to follow!

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