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Thanks for the Energy, Afternoon Snacks


When it comes to the hours between lunch and dinner, little pick-me-ups can make a big difference. Here are four snacks with stamina-stocked ingredients to help you finish the day strong.

Crisp Toasted Oat Granola Bars

PREP: 25 minutes

BAKE: 15–20 minutes

MAKES: 16 bars

1 1/2 cups regular rolled oats

1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1/3 cup honey

1/4 cup light molasses

2 Tbsp. butter

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1/8 tsp. pure almond extract

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup crisp rice cereal

1/2 cup dried wild blueberries

1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots and/or dried cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread oats, pecans, and almonds evenly in a large rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F.

2. Meanwhile, combine honey, molasses, butter, and salt in a small saucepan. Bring just to boiling over medium-high, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and almond extract.

3. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, extending foil over edges of pan; coat foil with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine oats mixture, honey mixture, rice cereal, dried blueberries, and dried apricots; mix well. Press mixture gently into prepared pan.

4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Use foil to remove bars from pan. Cut into rectangles. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Fruit-and-Nut Chocolate Bars

PREP: 20 minutes

FREEZE: 1 hour

MAKES: 13 large drops

8oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

1tsp. shortening

DESIRED TOPPINGS: chopped dried fruit (apricots, cherries, cranberries, golden raisins, mango, papaya, pineapple), coarsely chopped nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, walnuts), chopped crystallized ginger, pepitas, candied orange peel, crushed Aleppo pepper, and/or flaky sea salt

1. Melt chocolate and shortening in a small saucepan over low until smooth, stirring frequently. Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly.

2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Drop melted chocolate in 1/2 Tbsp. or 1 Tbsp. portions onto paper. Sprinkle with desired toppings. To set, freeze drops 1 hour or chill 2 hours. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Easy Energy Bites

PREP: 21 minutes

CHILL: 1 hour

MAKES: 24 bites

1 cup creamy peanut butter or almond butter

1/2 cup honey or agave syrup

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups regular rolled oats

1/2 cup salted sunflower kernels

Unsweetened flaked or shredded coconut

1. Stir together peanut butter, honey, chia seeds, cocoa powder, and vanilla in a bowl until well combined. Stir in oats and sunflower kernels. Form mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls. Roll in coconut to coat. Place in an airtight container. Cover and chill at least 1 hour. Store in the refrigerator up to 10 days or freeze up to 3 months.

No-Bake Fruit-and-Nut Bars

PREP: 15 minutes

CHILL: 1 hour

MAKES: 9 bars

Nonstick cooking spray

1 cup raw shelled pistachios, toasted if desired

1cup dried strawberries or dried sweet cherries

1 cup pitted whole dates

2 tsp. lemon zest

1/2 cup coarsely chopped raw almonds (not blanched)

1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

2 Tbsp. cacao nibs

1. Line a baking sheet with a 10-inch-square piece of foil; coat lightly with cooking spray. Combine pistachios, dried strawberries, dates, and lemon zest in a food processor. Pulse four or five times to coarsely chop fruit. Process 30 to 60 seconds or until uniform. Scrape down sides of processor bowl and blade. Process 2 minutes or until mixture gathers together and forms a ball (it should not be crumbly).

2. Transfer fruit mixture to a bowl or clean work surface. Add almonds, coconut, and cacao nibs; knead gently to incorporate. Pat mixture into a 7-inch square (about 1/2 inch thick) on prepared baking sheet. Chill 1 hour.

3. Transfer bars to a cutting board; cut into squares or rectangles. Wrap bars individually in plastic wrap, or layer unwrapped bars between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator up to 10 days or freeze up to 3 months.

Story by Alyssa Shultis | Recipes by Ellen Boeke | Photography by Carson Downing | Produced by Scott J. Johnson | Food Styling by Charles Worthington | Art Direction by Billy Jack Brawner

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