Remember when we made that Copycat KIND maple quinoa clusters granola? Not that long after (in a comment I can't seem to find), one particularly smartpants reader politely said something like, “Hey, Nicole, howsabout a copycat recipe of KIND Bars?”
I actually really love it when I get requests like that, since, well, it's easier than trying to read your minds. And sometimes, I can even oblige. One good turn deserves another, right? Today, I give you Cranberry Almond KIND Bars. Think of all the money you'll save!
Believe it or not, it took 3 tries to get these KIND Bars just right. So I really don't recommend altering the recipe, at least not at first. Sometimes, it's the simplest recipes that can kick you swiftly in the … rear.
One step too far this way, and you've got bars that just don't hold together. A step too far that way, and well they just don't look or taste like KIND Bars. I've offered up one sub in the recipe itself (more honey instead of Lyle's Golden Syrup), but otherwise, step away from the red pen!
When I do copycat recipes, I begin with the ingredient list on the package. But since we're in our home kitchens and not in a laboratory or a manufacturing plant, it usually takes some finessing.
In a good way, you know? It's good to have finesse. And style. And a good pair of jeans.
My major innovation with this KIND Bar recipe? Grinding about 1/4 of the almonds in the recipe (eyeball it). It really helps to hold the bars together, so they're not just a jumble of big pieces of nuts and dried fruit.
Since they don't tend to look as pretty on top, though, that way, but they're still gorgeous and look just like the real thing on the underside. So … when you turn them out of the pan, just flip them over. I love it when the solution is staring you right in the face.
Cranberry Almond KIND Bars
2 cups (230 g) raw whole almonds
1/2 cup (70 g) raw macadamia nut pieces
2 cups (60 g) gluten free crisp rice cereal (I use Erewhon Crisp Rice Cereal)
1 cup (140 g) dried whole cranberries
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons (42 g) canola oil
1/2 cup (168 g) honey
1/4 cup (84 g) Lyle’s Golden Syrup (can substitute an equal amount of additional honey)
Preheat your oven to 300°F. Line a quarter sheet pan (a shallow rimmed 9 x 13-inch baking sheet) with unbleached parchment paper and set it aside.
In a blender or food processor, place about 1/4 of the whole almonds and grind into a mostly fine powder. In a large bowl, place the ground almonds, the remaining whole almonds, macadamia nut pieces, rice cereal, cranberries and salt, and mix to combine well. Add the oil, and toss to coat. Add the honey and Lyle’s Golden Syrup and mix to combine well. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
Scrape it into the prepared pan and spread into an even layer. Cover with another sheet of unbleached parchment paper, place another quarter sheet pan on top and press down evenly with as much force as you can muster to compress the mixture into an even layer. Be careful not to allow large clusters of almonds to gather in the corners of the baking sheet, or they will not hold together when you slice the whole thing into bars.
Remove the top baking sheet and top sheet of parchment, and place the baking sheet in the center of the preheated oven. Bake until the mixture is lightly browned and bubbling (about 20 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Without removing the bars from the baking sheet and using a bench scraper or butter knife, score the bars into 3 equal rows of 5 rectangles each. Allow the bars to cool for another 10 minutes before placing in the refrigerator until completely chilled (about 30 minutes).
Remove the bars from the refrigerator and invert the bars onto a cutting board, with the parchment paper now on top. Peel off the parchment paper, and finish cutting 15 bars. Wrap each bar tightly in wax paper, and store in the refrigerator or freezer.