Today’s recipe for homemade Whole-Wheat Cereal Bars includes black walnuts (pictured below) – something I honestly had never heard of before working with the sponsor of this post, Hammons. I didn’t even realize there were such different varieties of walnuts available. My first reaction was that they tasted nothing like regular walnuts!
About Black Walnuts
Black walnuts are not grown in orchards like most nuts but instead are found in the wild in the midwest and east-central United States. They have the highest protein over any nut and are full of many beneficial nutrients. The next harvest season is coming up in October, and apparently it’s a tradition for many families in the region to collect black walnuts together to sell at hulling stations in their area.
The most notable difference with the American black walnut is it’s flavor. It is bolder than the English walnut (the most common kind), and it isn’t really used for snacking but it is great as an ingredient where its rich flavor can stand out and complement the other ingredients. While they’re a great balance of flavor in baked goods, you can essentially use black walnuts in a variety of savory dishes as well, like these recipes for Black Walnut Chicken Quiche and Black Walnut Wild Rice. You can also use black walnuts in granola bars, trail mixes and oatmeal.
Homemade Cereal Bars
The bag of black walnuts got me thinking about how I should try them in a homemade cereal bar recipe. Bars sure are convenient, especially this time of year, but the packaged ones leave a lot to be desired. Just check out what is actually in one of these store-bought cereal bars below – no, thank you! These are definitely not ingredients I would cook with at home:
But just because we want to keep it real doesn’t mean we have to miss out on this convenience food. We just need to make our own instead! And thank goodness it is super easy to do thanks to this recipe for Whole-Wheat Cereal Bars below. I found that black walnuts were perfect in a small dose in this recipe, but regular walnuts would also work as an alternative if that’s all you have on hand. Enjoy!
- 3 cups unsweetened shredded wheat cereal (bite-sized)
- ¾ cup sliced or chopped almonds
- ¼ cup chopped black walnuts (or regular walnuts)
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (a mix found in the spice aisle)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons butter
- ⅓ cup honey
- Preheat oven to 325° F. Line a quarter sheet pan (9 x 13 inches) with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large ziplock bag, combine the cereal, nuts, spice, and salt. Crush with a meat tenderizer or your fist until the cereal is broken up into pieces. Pour into a large bowl.
- Melt the butter and honey together and stir into the cereal mixture until well combined. Spread onto the baking sheet in one even layer and bake until it just starts to turn golden brown, 20 - 22 minutes.
- Let cool completely then break into chunks and store in an airtight container for up to one week.