Chewy Date Granola Bars
The Search for the Perfect Granola Bar Recipe
Granola bars are the perfect snack. They’re chewy, healthy, satisfying and delicious! A while back I was on the hunt for a recipe so I could start making them at home. Most were full of added sugar and fat to allow the bars to stick together – not what I was looking for. After making about a dozen recipes, I stumbled upon a gem. After altering it a bit (I can never follow a recipe for what it is), this recipe was born. I will never use another method to make granola bars, this one is perfect. Of course, you can alter the ingredients to create different tastes, but the base is the same: dates. Once pulverized, they act like glue, holding all the components together and adding a natural sweetness (and a whole lot of fiber). I have the Minimalist Baker to thank for the inspiration to the best granola bars, ever!
Despite having a large amount of dates in this recipe, you’ll never know they’re in here. So if you don’t particularly fancy dates, don’t let it discourage you from trying these granola bars. If your typical diet doesn’t often include dates, you may wish to add them in, for they are an amazing fruit. Those wrinkled, little brown nuggets are nutrient dense and full of body-loving benefits. Easy to digest, they’re high in potassium, iron, Vitamin A and K, fiber, flavonoids plus they contain 15 minerals and 23 amino acids not present in most other fruits! (And this is the shortened list!) (1) In combination with the other ingredients, these granola bars are a nutritional powerhouse snack!
You’ll need a food processor for these to breakdown the dates. They will form a ball on the side of the processor when they’re ready.
All kinds of peanut or nut butters will work (traditional or natural). Here, I’ve used the Trader Joe’s flax seed natural peanut butter. Once the nut butter and honey are melted, mix in the nuts right into the pan. I’ve pulsed the pistachios here to make them safe for younger children.
Great for Kids
This recipe can be adapted for babies as young as 10 months if they are accustomed to chewing harder foods. My babe started eating small bites of mine at 10 months (using agave vs. honey). I now make them appropriate for her by pulsing the pistachios and cherries first. If your kids have constipation issues, this is a perfect snack or breakfast to have on hand. They freeze beautifully, just be certain to cut them first.
- 3 cups original rolled oats (not the quick cooking kind)
- 2 cups pitted medjool dates
- 3/4 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)
- 1/2 cup honey or agave syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup roasted pistachio nuts
- 1 cup dried cherries
- Baking sheet
- 13x9 pan
- Food processor
- 1.5 quart sauce pan
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Scatter oats onto a baking sheet pan or cookie sheet and toast for about 8 minutes until slightly fragrant.
- While oats are toasting, place pitted dates into a food processor. Grind/pulse until dates are well processed; they will ball up on the side of the container when done.
- In a 1.5 quart saucepan add peanut butter and honey (or agave). Heat over medium-low heat, stirring often to avoid scorching until incorporated. (Peanut butter burns quickly.)
- Reduce heat to low and add vanilla and salt; stir.
- Add date ball to mixture and attempt to incorporate as much as possible. (This will take a couple minutes.) Once mostly mixed, remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, add oats, pistachios and cherries. Mix together.
- Grease a 13x9 and line with parchment.
- Pour (cooled-to-touch) date mixture over oat mix and prepare to get your hands dirty.
- Mix well until every oat is stuck to something else. (Hands work the best.)
- Press well into 13x9.
- Cover with cling wrap and refrigerate about an hour until chilled and set.
- Cut and store in refrigerator to keep fresh for a couple weeks.
- This recipe can be adapted for babies as young as 10 months old (for those accustomed to eating harder foods and have learned to properly chew). Follow the adaptations below.
- Grind the nuts and chop the dried cherries (or toss into the processor) before adding for young children.
- Use creamy peanut butter.
- Agave only (no honey) for babies under the age of 1.
- For finger foods, pull off small bite-sized pieces at a time (1/2 inch chunks).
- Before serving, I like to zap in the microwave to soften them up a bit.
- Follow the same adaptations listed above.
- Kcal 206 | Fat 7g | Sat Fat 2g | Chol 0mg | Sodium 53mg | Carb 33g | Fiber 3g | Sugar 22g | Protein 4g
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