Granola bars are an easy, healthy, pick-me-up snack that you can grab on the go and stay satiated for a few hours. There are plenty of options available in the market but the problem is that most of them are loaded with sugar and corn syrup, that provide instant energy but also load the unnecessary calories. I like the satisfaction of knowing that my healthy treat is truly healthy and not a dessert masquerading as a health treat. If I am to eat calories equivalent to a dessert, then I will eat a dessert! Thank you very much!
All said and done, I do like my granola bars. They are the perfect grab- and- go breakfast, when you are rushing out in the mornings, trying to make it to that early morning meeting. Hence, my quest to find the perfect recipe for Granola Bars that is easy, combines all my favorite ingredients, and is delicious to boot. After multiple iterations, and tweaking of the recipe a couple of times, I now have one that has become my staple go to recipe. This is a simple one bowl recipe that requires minimal fuss. There is no baking required, except the toasting of the oats and nuts. I like the toasty taste, but you can totally skip this step, and, mix everything together right away, if you like a more chewy texture. To help them set, you just pop them in the freezer for 20-30mins, and then cut up into small bars to enjoy.
These little golden bars are full of heart healthy nutrients and energy boosting nuts that are all good for you. These are five ingredient bars and all you need to make them are dates, oats, peanut butter, honey, and nuts. You pulverize the dates into a paste and that acts like a binding agent for the bars. I use a mix of nuts, depending on whatever I have at hand, so anything from almonds, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds, pecans, pepitas, hazelnuts and even dark chocolate chips. If you are not a fan of peanut butter, then feel free to use any other nut butter that complements the other ingredients, The butter, honey, and, dates, act as a binder that help keep the bars together. Also, I have tried to make the measurements as exact as possible, but make a judgement call, when combining the ingredients, and add more oats/nuts if the mix seems too sticky or loose to come together.
Homemade 'No-Bake' Granola Bars
- 1 cup packed pitted dates (I use medjool dates)
- 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
- 1 1/4 cup mixed nuts, seeds, chocolate chips (whatever you add-ins you fancy)
- 1 1/2 cup steel cut rolled oats (do not use the instant ones)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- *1/4 tsp salt (only if using unsalted peanut butter)
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread oats and the nuts you want toasted on it. Be careful to not add things like chocolate chips, banana chips, dried fruit etc. to the sheet 🙂
- Toast the oats and nuts in the oven for 10-15mins until they are slightly golden and you can smell the slight toasty notes.
- Meanwhile in a high speed food processor, add the pitted dates and pulverize them, for around a minute until they form a dough-like consistency. It helps if you keep your dates in the refrigerator. Add a little water if necessary to help process the dates.
- Place the toasted oats, nuts, cinnamon, salt, and the processed dates in a mixing bowl, and set aside.
- In a microwave safe bowl, warm the honey and peanut butter, until melted and mixed through. Run it for short 20-30 second cycles, give a quick stir and then place it back again until you get a pouring consistency. Be careful to not let it get to a boil. Alternately, you can also melt it in a saucepan over low heat on the stove top.
- Pour the warm honey and peanut butter mix over the oats mixture, breaking up the dates to mix through. I prefer to use my hands to mix the ingredients thoroughly and break up any lumps or dry areas. Don’t be afraid to get those hands dirty!
- Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8 dish or a cookie sheet lined with plastic wrap. Press down and form a uniform layer that sticks together. You might have to apply some pressure to get a smooth top.
- Cover the bars with a plastic wrap and let it set in the freezer for 20-30mins to harden.
- Remove them from the freezer, lift them out of the wrap and on a flat cutting surface, cut them into even sized bars. I usually end up 10-12 bars.
These bars are best kept in the fridge and stay fridge for 7-10days. I wrap mine in individual wrappers to keep, which makes it easy to carry, when I am on the go.