Whitney Miller’s Cinnamon Apple Granola Bars

Because Wednesday is National Pistachio Day, I wanted to share how I learned that these members of the cashew family are not just for snacking.

Pistachios are low in calories and are a source of protein; that’s why they’re considered the “skinny nut.”

But after eating a few raw pistachios one day, I noticed that they also contained a slightly sweet flavor.

I wondered, “What if pistachios could be used as a natural sweetener, to reduce the amount of sugar in baked goods and desserts?”

To find out, I put my question to the test in my kitchen.

First, I had to grind them into a powder, so I added raw shelled and skinned pistachios into a spice grinder. When I sampled the powder, the sweetness really came through!

Next time you’re baking, try substituting pistachio powder for some of the sugar in the recipe. You’ll be surprised to find the sweetness pistachios can bring to baked goods and desserts. Try my cinnamon apple granola bar recipe first, then experiment with pistachio powder in other treats like brownies, cakes and muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 3 Tbsp. raw shelled pistachios
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 Tbsp. light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch fine sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apples

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Grease a 12-cup mini tart pan (My pan has removable bottoms) or muffin tin.
  3. Place 1/2 cup of the oats in a coffee/spice grinder. Process until it forms a powder.
  4. Place 1/2 cup of the oats in the spice grinder and pulse a couple times until the oats are coarse.
  5. Combine the oat flour, coarse oats, and the rest (1/2 cup) of the rolled oats in a mixing bowl.
  6. Place the pistachios in the spice grinder and process until a powder forms.
  7. Add the pistachio powder and pecans to the dry mixture.
  8. In a separate microwave safe bowl, melt the butter, honey, and brown sugar together.
  9. Add the vanilla, salt, and cinnamon to the bowl.
  10. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry. Stir in the dried apples.
  11. Press the mixture into each space of the tart pan or muffin tin.
  12. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the sides are golden brown.
  13. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Whitney MillerWhen she was just 22, Whitney Miller won the first U.S. season of the Fox show MasterChef. She is the author of Modern Hospitality: Simple Recipes with Southern Charm. While working on her second cookbook, she frequently travels around the U.S. and as far away as China to conduct cooking demonstrations and culinary classes. For more, visit whitneymiller.net, connect with Whitney MillerH on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @whitneymillerH.