{recipe} Yosemite-Ready Granola Bars with Dried Cherries, Almonds, & Cocoa Nibs

Last weekend I had the great fortune to spend some time in Yosemite. I went with some friends who are really excellent cooks and hosts, so I wanted to impress them by showing up with homemade granola bars for our hikes so I could seem like one of those overachieving perfectionist-types. Of course, these guys have known me for about ten years, so we all knew I wasn’t fooling anyone! Still, the end result for all of us: homemade granola bars with dried cherries, almonds, and cocoa nibs to fuel us through our very non-strenuous and pleasant hikes.

What can I say about Yosemite that hasn’t already been said? We got to see the beginnings of fall colors, with vibrant yellow and orange leaves contrasted with the towering granite grays and misty white waterfalls…

Sun glinting through the pine trees as if they were daytime fireworks…

And of course, the always heart-stopping view of that most famous of Yosemite landmarks, Half Dome.

The icing on the cake: dinner in the dining room of what is ostensibly the masterpiece of all national park lodges, the 1927 WPA-era Ahwahnee Hotel, and a brandy by the oversized fireplace to top off the evening.

Recipe: Granola Bars with Dried Cherries, Almonds, & Cocoa Nibs
makes about 16 granola bars


  • 2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tblsp flaxseed oil
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp freshly grated ginger root
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa nibs
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries (cut in half if they are large)


  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
  • Combine oats, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, and almonds. Spread on baking pan and toast in the oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and pour into a large mixing bowl.
  • Meanwhile, combine almond butter, honey, maple syrup, flaxseed oil, brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon, and salt in a saucepan. Heat over medium heat, whisking, until the mixture is melted together and fully combined.
  • Pour melted mixture into oats. Add cocoa nibs and dried cherries and mix everything together until fully combined.
  • Lightly oil your hands. Press mixture on to the baking sheet, pressing the mixture down and squishing it tightly together, forming an even rectangle that’s about 18 inches by 24 inches.
  • Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 2 hours.
  • Use a large sharp knife to cut into bars. Store in an airtight container , with pieces of parchment, saran wrap, or foil in between.

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2 Responses

  1. ginny says:

    I made these the other day and subbed pepitas for the sunflower seeds…delish! Bought more dried cherries and plan to make again and again.