Super crunchy honey nut bars that are the perfect snack on the go!
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas & New Year’s Eve and were able to get some rest. Now that the holidays are over and we have eaten the last of the Christmas cookies, it’s time to get back to a routine again. I know I know, it’s not that much fun! In fact, it would be a lot more fun to keep eating those cookies and cozy up under big fat blankets until spring comes around. However, we don’t need to get out the salad spinner just yet. I have something for your sugar cravings that is also full of healthy fats and protein – a good compromise for this time of the year. 🙂
I had the idea to create a recipe for honey nut bars after following a bunch of disappointing nut bar recipes I found online. I couldn’t find a recipe that would result in super crunchy bars that stick together really well. They would either be floppy or wouldn’t even hold their shape. So I got busy in my kitchen and started playing around with different types of nuts and honey-sugar syrup combinations. Through the process I found out the key elements to getting those super crunchy bars that hold their shape perfectly. Keep reading to find out what they are!
For our bars, we are using a combination of almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts. However, if you wish to swap out some of the nuts for other kinds, feel free to do so. Just make sure to stick to the measurements and halve larger nuts such as brazil nuts. If you cannot find any raw nuts, you can also use salted roasted ones. Just make sure that not all of the kinds of nuts you are using are salted, otherwise your bars will turn out too salty. I also tested the recipe with salted roasted peanuts since raw peanuts are not always available and they turned out just as good. In fact, if you love a salty-sweet combo, try this recipe with salted roasted peanuts.
By now you probably know that I am a fan of Langnese honey, which is what I typically use for baking. I used their Akazien- mit Frühlingsblütenhonig for this recipe, which is a mild type of honey with floral notes. It comes in a practical squeezy bottle, which makes it ideal for cooking and baking because you can measure it out so easily. Oh, and since we are on the topic, my favorite hack for baking with honey is the following: For an easy clean up, spray your measuring spoon with non-stick spray or oil before measuring out your honey. This way the honey slides right off!
The sugar syrup acts as a glue to help keep the bars together and make them crunchy. I used a combination of honey and brown sugar. The honey gives the bars a nice flavor while the sugar makes the bars really crunchy. While you could solely make these bars with honey, they would be more floppy than crispy due to the higher water content of honey. To make sure the bars become brittle, it’s important to cook the sugar mixture to the correct temperature. At 150°-155°C the sugar syrup reaches the hard crack stage which is where it forms stiff strands and becomes brittle as it cools. The stage is referred to as “hard crack” because, when dropped into water, it forms a hard ball that cracks when bent. If you cook it to a lower temperature the bars will remain pliable. This is why it’s very important to work with a candy thermometer here, as a few degrees can make a big difference for your bars.
The sugar syrup hardens very quickly, which is why you need to work fast once you combine the nuts with the syrup. Be sure to have your pan lined with greased parchment paper ready to go. Once the syrup hardens it’s very difficult to handle the mixture, so speed is key here. The same goes for cutting your bars. You want to give the nut bars some time to cool but you don’t want to wait until they have hardened completely. I like to wait until the bars are still slightly warm and pliable. Then I remove them from the pan and cut them into bars. You can cut them lengthwise for regular size bars or widthwise for smaller bars.
These ultra-crunchy nut bars with honey are not just a delicious treat, they are also the perfect snack on the go. Take them with to work, put them in your kid’s lunchbox or simply enjoy them for breakfast, they are super portable and also super filling. They provide you with healthy fats and protein which keep the hunger at bay. (I’m not kidding, I had one of these for breakfast and wasn’t hungry till the afternoon!)
I hope you give these delicious bars a try and wish you a great start to the new year!Print
- 140g almonds, raw and unsalted (1 cup)
- 60g peanuts, raw and unsalted (1/2 cup)
- 60g hazelnuts, raw and unsalted (1/2 cup)
- 60g macadamia nuts, raw and unsalted (1/2 cup)
- 30g sunflower seeds (1/4 cup)
- 35g sesame seeds (1/4 cup)
- 4 tablespoons honey, such as Langnese Akazien- mit Frühlingsblütenhonig
- 100g brown sugar (1/2 cup)
- 1 and ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- candy thermometer
- 60g chocolate (2oz.), optional
- Spread the almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts and macadamia nuts on a baking tray and roast at 150°C (300 °F) for about 8 minutes until fragrant and golden brown.
- Once toasted, combine with the sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Line a 20x26cm (8×10 inch) casserole pan or small baking sheet with parchment paper and brush with a little bit of oil.
- Add the honey, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt to a pot. Cook the sugar mixture, stirring constantly, until the candy thermometer reads a temperature of 150°-155°C (300-310 °F).
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the nut mixture, combining everything well. Quickly transfer the mixture into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Using a second piece of parchment paper and a flat object, quickly press down on the mixture to flatten it (make sure there are no gaps).
- Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes, then cut into 10 bars with a sharp knife. Let the bars cool completely.
- If desired, melt the chocolate and drizzle over the bars with a spoon or piping bag. Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature.
To prevent your bars from sticking together when you store them, place parchment paper between the bars or wrap them individually.
Thank you to our friends at Langnese Honig for sponsoring this post!