Healthy on-the-go power crunch bars

(NC) When you're hungry and in a hurry, sticking to your new year's resolution can get tricky. Plan ahead and beat your cravings with these power crunch snack bars, made with Orville Redenbacher Smart Pop microwaveable popcorn. The popcorn is 100 per cent whole grain, high in fibre and now made without any artificial colours, flavours or preservatives.

Power Crunch Bars

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Serves: 24

Ingredients:

No-stick cooking spray

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) quick-cooking rolled oats

3/4 cup (175 mL) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1 mini bag (34 g) Orville Redenbacher's Smart Pop microwaveable popcorn

3/4 cup (175 mL) firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup (125 mL) margarine

1 tbsp water

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup (175 mL) dried cranberries

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 15x10-inch shallow baking pan with cooking spray. Combine oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl; set aside.

Prepare popcorn according to package directions. Remove all un-popped kernels; set aside.

Combine brown sugar and margarine in large bowl using electric mixer on high speed. Add water and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add flour mixture; blend well. Reduce speed to low and add cranberries.

Cover hands with plastic gloves or sandwich-size plastic bags. Incorporate popped corn into cookie dough. Spread mixture in pan. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.

Cool before cutting into 24 bars. Store in tightly sealed container.

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