Pre-Workout Almond, Craisin, Chocolate, Honey Granola Bars

Granola Almond Energy Bars_n

Soft and chewy granola bars packed with helpful protein and complex carbohydrates are a tasty, energy-packed pre-workout snack.

At this time of year, many people are re-tooling their workout program or starting a new one. Two hundred miles north of the Arctic Circle, that part of life is no different. We mostly confine ourselves to the weight room and gym at our school for workouts. With typical days featuring windchill below zero, running means treadmill workouts. Jack likes running workouts on the treadmill. I am slowly becoming accustomed to them. Running gives us a little cushion in terms of burning calories so we can enjoy all the sumptuous meals we cook, and it keep us in shape for our active lifestyle.

The most convenient time for our workouts is after school – a time of day when we often need an energy boost. I thought about making some kind of cookie that was filled with nuts and raisins, envisioning something soft and chewy. I also wanted to use up some of the staples in our pantry. What resulted was a chewy bar stuffed with craisins, coconut, nuts, peanut butter and honey. A homemade version of sweetened condensed milk is the binding agent. We snacked on them before our workout today and thought they came out great: tasty and energy boosting!

I imagine that any dried berries or nuts could be used in this recipe. I’m already planning on baking up a few batches to take with us on our summer adventures hiking, fishing and boating around the Kenai Peninsula.

Granola Bars


  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup chopped almonds
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup powdered non-fat milk
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • honey


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a 13 x 9-inch glass baking dish with parchment paper. Paper should go all the way up the sides of the dish.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together oats, nuts, cranberries, chocolate chips and coconut. Set aside.
  4. Using a blender, (I prefer an immersion blender), blend sugar, boiling water, and non-fat milk powder.
  5. Add butter and peanut butter to milk mixture. Blend until fully mixed.
  6. Add enough honey to bring liquid mixture to 16 ounces. Blend until fully mixed.
  7. Pour milk mixture into oat mixture and thoroughly mix.
  8. Press dough into baking dish.
  9. Bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Allow bars to cool for 5 minutes in pan.
  11. Lift bars out of pan by holding parchment paper. Set on a wire rack to continue cooling.
  12. Allow the bars to cool completely on parchment paper on a wire rack before cutting.
  13. Store cut bars in an airtight container.