Author: Lauren Grant of Zestful Kitchen
It’s back to school time and that means back to packing lunches and afternoon snacks. These healthy homemade granola bars are the perfect snack to have on hand. Naturally sweetened and made with whole-grains and nuts, these bars are delicious and satisfying.
Serving Size: Makes 8 bars
Takes 40 minutes
1¾ cups quick cooking oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup large flake shredded coconut
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1 cup pitted dates, roughly chopped
½ cup creamy natural peanut butter or almond butter
¼ cup honey or pure maple syrup
¼ tsp. kosher salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract
3 ounces dark chocolate (optional)
1. Coat an 8-inch square baking dish with nonstick spray.
2. Heat oven to 350°F. Combine oats and almonds on a baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes; transfer to a large bowl. Add coconut to baking sheet and toast until golden. 3 minutes; transfer to bowl with oats and add chia seeds.
3. Process dates in a food processor until a thick paste-like ball forms. Break ball apart then continue to process until the paste forms around the sides of the bowl. Combine date mixture, peanut butter, honey, salt, and cinnamon in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook until combined, about 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in vanilla.
4. Add date and peanut butter mixture to oat mixture and mix until thoroughly combined (set down the spoon and get your hands dirty, this is a sticky mixture). Transfer mixture to prepared dish and press into an even layer.
5. In a double boiler or glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt chocolate until smooth, drizzle or spread over bars. Chill bars at least 1 hour before cutting. Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.