Cranberry granola balls

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I was at the park the other day and Scarlett, the ultimate eavesdropper, was listening to my conversation with an old acquaintance. I was filling them in on this great, little site I co-created with the smartest editorial chick ever called Sweet Potato Chronicles. As I was explaining that it’s a site about cooking with kids, Scarlett pipes in with: “I’m the most awesome cook. You should come over for dinner some time!” Is she kidding me? Is this what SPC will lead to – Legions of acquaintances, teachers, swim instructors and passer-bys coming over for supper? In the beginning, I loved the confidence Scarlett gained from being proficient in the kitchen. Today, I guess I’ll need to find a way to work humble in as well. Are you wondering where the balls come in? After Scarlett’s dinner invitation, she shared some balls with her park friends.

Since we’ve tried and enjoyed many a granola, bar and also because it’s one of the easiest snacks to grab, I really should make this recipe once a week. You can fiddle with the sugar amount (I’ve added agave for part of it) and then you don’t have to think about the amount of sweetner in your bars.

Cranberry Granola Balls

2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/2 cup agave nectar

1/4 packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sunflower butter (no nut worries)

1/2 cup of your favorite granola

1/2 cup dried, unsweetened cranberries

Method:

Preheat oven to 350. Spread oats and coconut out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven until lightly brown, about 10 minutes. My four-year old is quite meticulous spreading the oats and coconut out on the sheet.

In a medium sauce pan, an adult combines sunflower butter, agave and brown sugar over medium heat. Stir until brown sugar is completely blended. Stir continuously so mixture doesn’t burn.

Add the oat mix, granola and cranberries to sugar, and combine. Allow to cool a few minutes. With moist hands, roll a teaspoon full of mix in palm of hands – create bite-size balls. Kids love this part and even the tiniest hands can help.  Place in refrigerator and allow to harden for at least one hour. Store in air-tight container.

Scarlett and I had so much fun rolling these granola balls. They are so tasty. I love the flavor the sunflower butter gives them. In fact, I left some of the batch loose for my morning yogurt. I also shared them with some friends at Scarlett’s music class. Of the potluck of snacks we all pecked from, the granola balls got the most play. They’re quite addictive.

Courtesy Sweet Potato Chronicles

More snack ideas from Sweet Potato Chronicles:

Put the packaged granola bars on hold and give these low-sugar, antioxidant-rich Blueberry Spelt Oat Bars a try.

An apple-a-day never looked so good until it became the applewich. A protein-packed snack (use any nut or seed butter your family prefers) and sprinkle it with just about seed, chip, nut or fruit you can dream up.

This Rice Crisp treat gets a nutritious shot of blueberries and the sweet addition of raisins.