The next time you’re shopping at the grocery store, grab a box of your garden variety granola bars and take a quick gander at the ingredient list. I’m willing to bet they’re high in the following: highly processed/refined sugar and hydrogenated oil (trans fat) or palm oil. Now, put that box down and grab the following ingredients for today’s chewy granola bar recipe. They are kid and adult friendly, free of processed sugar and unhealthy oils, great for sharing, and oh so tasty.
CHEWY GRANOLA BARS
vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free
Yields ~ 12 bars
GRANOLA BAR INGREDIENTS
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (GF if necessary)
- 1 cup unsalted nuts (almonds or peanuts)
- 1 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 1 Tbsp. hemp hearts
- 1/4 tsp. pink salt, or to taste
- 1/4 cup nut or seed butter (almond, peanut, cashew, sunflower, etc.)
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- date paste (see recipe below)
- 2 Tbsp. liquid sweetener (agave or maple syrup), optional
- Extras: cacao nibs, chocolate chips, raisins, goji berries, coconut, etc.
DATE PASTE INGREDIENTS
- 1 1/2 cups Medjool dates (pits removed)
- Boiling water
For Date Paste:
- Remove pits or any stems from medjool dates, place in a tempered glass bowl or large measuring cup and cover with boiled water (I suggest using a tea kettle to heat your water).
- Allow dates to soak and soften for 10 minutes.
- Drain dates from water and blend in a food processor or high-powered blender until creamy and smooth.
- Add more water 1 Tbsp. at a time, if needed.
For Granola Bars:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Line two pans with parchment paper:
- One baking sheet for oats.
- One baking pan (a bread pan for thicker bars or a larger pan for thinner bars) for granola bar mixture.
- Pour oats into lined baking sheet. Bake for ~10 minutes until lightly toasted.
- In an oven-safe, glass measuring cup (Pyrex) combine nut butter and coconut oil. Place in the oven for a couple minutes until oil melts and nut butter becomes soft.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine melted oil/nut butter mixture, date paste, vanilla extract, and liquid sweetener (optional).
- In a separate bowl, combine toasted rolled oats, nuts, chia seeds, and pink salt. Then, add to liquid mixture in large bowl.
- Fold in extras.
- Test mixture to be sure it’s sticky. If too dry, add additional nut butter and/or liquid sweetener.
- Pour granola bar mixture into the second lined baking dish and place another piece of parchment paper on top. Smooth and spread mixture until evenly pressed into the pan.
- Place in refrigerator for at least 15 minutes (to harden) then cut into even-sized bars.
- Wrap in parchment paper and string (as pictured) and store any leftovers an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a week.