This year, my grandmother turned 86. She is adorable, and though challenged by heart disease, mini-strokes, fibroids and diabetes, Nan still has an appreciation for life, friends and family. We always enjoy our visits with her, and one of the highlights is making her a simple treat she can celebrate her long life with.
Because of her diabetes and high blood pressure, we made this recipe a little differently for her. I found the original version in a diabetic-friendly cookbook and it used Splenda as the main sweetener, as well as reduced fat peanut butter, with no added fruit or nuts. So that’s how we made it for Nan and she loved it! She has already asked us to bring another batch.
For ourselves, we swapped in maple syrup and brown sugar, and went heavy on the sliced almonds and dried cranberries. Yum!
This recipe is in honor of Nan, affectionally known by our family as “Nannie Goat” – Happy Birthday #86, Nan! Love you!
Nan’s Birthday Squares
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup brown sugar (we like Wholesome Sweeteners)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup natural peanut butter, smooth or crunchy
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. cinnamon
Spray an 8×8 casserole with non-stick spray; set aside.
Add crumbled shredded wheat cereal, slivered almonds and dried cranberries to a large mixing bowl. Toss to combine.
In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine brown sugar, maple syrup, peanut butter, vanilla extract and cinnamon. Melt together, stirring frequently, until mixture is a liquid consistency.
Pour hot maple and peanut butter mixture over the dry ingredients. Quickly stir together to coat all dry ingredients and turn out into prepared 8×8 dish. Using your palms, press sticky mix down tightly.
Allow to set up for about 30 to 60 minutes or chill in fridge. Cut and serve. Makes about 9 portions.
Cooks’ Note: This recipe is easy to play with! You can use almond butter or sunflower seed butter or cashew butter. Toss in chopped pecans or dried blueberries instead. Add a pinch of ginger – or chocolate chips! Have fun! This is fast and easy, and great for snacking, dessert or even breakfast on the go!