By contributing writer Beth
It seems like my kids eat all day long. I mean non-stop! So it’s good to have some snacks around that are easy to grab and go. With these No-Bake Cranberry Orange Snack Bars in the refrigerator, I feel good knowing that my kids are grabbing a snack that will give them energy for another few hours of fun until the next meal.
This bar recipe is super easy. Even though there is no baking there are a few steps on the stove top. You could use a microwave for those steps, if you prefer.
My favorite part is that the kids can help out. They take turns gathering the ingredients, stirring the batter, and pressing the bars into the pan. Just make sure to have an adult supervising for the stove top portion of the recipe.
No Bake Orange Cranberry Snack Bars
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon orange extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 cup ground flax seed
- 3 cups quick cooking oats
- 1 cup walnuts chopped
- Prepare a 9 x 13 inch pan by lining it with parchment or wax paper. This will keep the bars from sticking. Make sure to leave "handles" on the sides of the paper so that you can easily remove the bars from the pan when they're completely ready.
- In a small saucepan, heat the orange juice, cranberries, and brown sugar over medium heat just until it starts to get steamy. Stir the cranberries to make sure they're all coated and also to allow the sugar to dissolve. Do not boil. You're re-hydrating the cranberries in this step and infusing the orange flavor from the juice. Remove the cranberries and juice from the heat and pour them into a bowl. Set aside to cool.
- In the same saucepan, combine the honey, peanut butter, and butter. Heat them on low to melt. Stir often and do not boil. Remove from heat when all ingredients are completely heated and mixed together. Pour mixture into a large glass bowl.
- To the peanut butter mixture add the vanilla, orange extract, cinnamon, flax seed, and cranberries (discard any juice that was not absorbed). Stir to combine.
- Add the oats and walnuts and work together. This mixture will be very stiff. I use my hands when it gets too difficult to stir with a spoon.
- Press the mixture evenly into your prepared pan. Refrigerate for about an hour. The mixture will stiffen during this time.
- Remove from the pan and cut into 18 bars. Serve immediately. Store any remaining bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator.