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No-Bake Pistachio & Cherry Granola Balls

Posted May 06 2011 2:35pm
I wasn't sure weather or not I'd be sharing these little cookie balls with you today. I experiment a lot in the kitchen and many times I'm lucky in that things come out just as I imagined in my head, but there are times things don't always work out as planned too. 

Everything was working out perfectly until I started to roll the sticky dough between my hands. The dough was much looser than I had imagined it would be, but I kept going thinking to myself at least they will taste good even if they don't look as pretty. But towards the end, as I was gathering the last few bits of dough together, they started staying together better. It was still a bit of a sticky mess, but they were holding together by themselves into little balls and it made me realize I just needed to let the dough sit for a bit before shaping them right away. In the instructions below I've allowed for a five minute rest before shaping the dough. If you live somewhere where it's super warm right now, you may even want to let the dough chill in the fridge a few minutes before shaping. This little experiment came about because Scott and I will each be at two separate craft shows this Saturday. I usually like to make little treats for us to enjoy during the long show hours but thought it was especially important this time because we'll be split up making lunch and snacks much harder to pick up when there's only one of you. 
I wanted something granola bar like with oats, dried fruit and nuts to keep our energy up and I liked the idea of making them bite sized for a quick bite in between talking with customers. Right now they're packed up and ready to go in the freezer. I'd normally keep them in the refrigerator, but I'm hoping they'll keep their structure when we head out the door early tomorrow morning. 
If your interested, I will be in Seattle at the Intiman Theatre from 11-5pm for the Etsy Rain Show and Scott will be down in Portland, OR for the Crafty Wonderland Spring show. Stop by and say hello if you're in the area we'd love to see you there! I'd imagine these little granola balls could work with any nut or dried fruit you'd like. You could even replace the maple syrup with honey for another option as well. Also, I used the most wonderful coconut oil in these. I love cooking with coconut oil whenever I can, not only because it tastes delicious but because it's really good for you too. A couple weeks ago a package was sent to me with a jar of Kelapo coconut oil. I'm always a little hesitant to review products here, but after reading more about the company I couldn't resist. Not only is it a 100% organic product, but they are also a fair trade company and it's tasty to boot. If you haven't added coconut oil to your diet yet I urge you to give it a go. It's really versatile and can be added in place of butter in many baked goods as easily as it can be added to sautes and savory meals. I'm curious if you've used coconut oil before and what you've used in in?
And to all the mother's out there here's wishing you a lovely Mother's Day weekend!

No-Bake Pistachio and Cherry Granola Ballsmakes about 20 small balls
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup almond butter2 tablespoons coconut oil2 tablespoons almond milk1 teaspoon vanilla1 1/2 cups rolled oats1/4 cup shelled pistachios, roughly chopped1/4 cup dried cherries
Stir together the maple syrup, almond butter, coconut oil and almond milk in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until the mixture comes to a gentle boil. Stirring constantly allow to boil for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine the oats, pistachios and dried cherries. Pour the almond butter mixture over the oats and stir until everything is well coated. Let this mixture sit for about 5 minutes to cool slightly. This will make it easier to make into balls. 
Have ready a parchment or wax paper lined baking sheet. Taking rounded tablespoons full of dough, roll and press together between your palms and place on the baking sheet. Once finished place in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes until the balls have hardened. Then enjoy!
Keep the balls stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to a week.
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