Cranberry Orange Barley bars are bursting with a bright and fresh flavor. Barley and Greek yogurt make them a healthy and filling snack, or a great grab-and-go breakfast. This recipe has been kid approved!
Bulk Items used: barley, dried cranberries
We all know and love granola bars, and the star ingredient is usually oatmeal. Since barley reminds me of a plump version of oatmeal, I knew I wanted to try to make a barley bar. After a few experiments, I developed this Cranberry Orange Barley Bar and was pretty satisfied in how they turned out.
I knew it was a sharable recipe, however, when my kids tried it. One said, “LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! Will you put it in my lunch tomorrow?” The other one didn’t say anything, but she took a bite, closed her eyes and made a small moan. (The other one didn’t get one because she refused to take even a small bite of dinner).
Why use Barley instead of Oats?
Using barley instead of oatmeal ups the bars’ nutritional value. Barley has over 3 times the amount of fiber that oatmeal does and double the amount of protein. Therefore, these bars make a great snack to fill you up quickly and keep you feeling full longer.
A cup of barley does have about 50 calories more than a cup of oatmeal. So keep that in mind if you’re counting calories. However, even though it has more calories, you will probably end up eating less (see paragraph above).
Sold on barley yet? If you want to learn more about this healthy whole grain, check out “A Complete Guide to Cooking with Barley.”
Tips for Making Cranberry Orange Barley Bars
- Barley: Start by making your barley, because it needs to be cooked before being added into the other ingredients. My favorite way is in the Instant Pot, but stove top works good too! Barley is sometimes prepared so it’s a little chewier and the grains don’t stick together. I would not recommend that for this recipe. I’d recommend adding a little extra water and cooking a little longer. This will make the grains softer and the bars less dense and chewy.
- Yogurt: My first attempt at making barley bars resulted in delicious, extremely chewy, dry bricks. Don’t get me wrong, they tasted good, but the texture was too heavy. The solution? Adding a creamy yogurt layer. In the recipe I suggest using Greek vanilla yogurt, but you could easily substitute regular yogurt, or whatever kind of yogurt you like.
- Substitutions: Speaking of making changes, get creative with your flavors! I chose Cranberry Orange because I love that combination, but you could easily substitute the cranberries for raisins, ditch the orange and add cinnamon instead. Or what about some fresh strawberries instead of the cranberries. Or maybe you use a different flavor of yogurt. Get creative and let me know in the comments! I’d love to try something new.
- Layers: These bars are assembled in layers. Once you have made the batter, scoop out a heaping 1/3 cup of it and set it aside. Press the remaining batter into a greased 8X8 pan. Then spoon the yogurt combo on top of the batter, without mixing it in. Next you’ll take that heaping 1/3 cup of remaining batter and drop it by spoonfuls onto the the top of the yogurt. Try your best to smooth and spread out the batter blobs on the top of the yogurt. Now you’re ready to bake!
Cranberry Orange Barley Bars
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup vegetable or canola oil
- ¼ orange juice
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup oats old-fashioned, not quick
- 1 cup cooked barley
- 1 cup flour
- zest from 1 orange
- 6 oz Greek Vanilla Yogurt
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp flour
- Cook the barley using preferred method.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and grease an 8×8 baking pan.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, orange juice, oil and honey together. Stir in the salt, oats, cooked barley, 1 cup of flour, and orange zest.
- In a separate small bowl, stir together the yogurt, 2 tbsp of flour and Craisins.
- Remove a heaping ⅓ cup of batter from the bowl and set it aside. Pour remaining batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing it out evenly in the pan. Next, spoon the yogurt mixture on top of the batter in the pan. Smoothing it out as well.Finally, drop spoonfuls from the heaping ⅓ cup of batter onto the yogurt. Try your best to smooth and spread out the batter blobs on the top of the yogurt.
- Bake for 30 mins, checking occasionally at the end to prevent burning.
- Remove from oven and slice while bars are still warm. Eat and enjoy!Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Leftover bars can also be frozen.