No Bake Granola Bars

No Bake Granola Bars

Working for clients with sugar-addicted kiddos has inspired me to test lots of sweet, yet nutrient-dense snacks. It’s quite a challenge to compete with the wildly sweet things kids obsess over, but these have passed the test for several awesome kids I know, and they’re even super fun to make with them! I found the original recipe here, on the Minimalist Baker blog. She is totally awesome, and I highly recommend following—they send out fun recipes every few days. Their version was a bit sweet for us, so I toned down the dates. If you want sweeter, start off with a couple more dates! My favorite combination has been apple-sweetened dried cranberries with orange zest, but the possibilities are endless!

Cook: 10

Prep: 15

Serves: 12 bars | 16 squares

ingredients

  • 1 cup whole raw cashews
  • 1.5 cups gluten free rolled oats
  • 1 cup pitted medjool dates (about 12 medium, or 150 grams)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 smooth peanut butter or almond butter
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sea salt (depending on whether or not your nut butter is salted)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup chopped dried fruit, seeds or mini chocolate chips (apple-sweetened dried cranberries and a little orange zest is delicious!)

instructions

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. On a half-sheet pan, toast oats and cashews for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden. Set aside to cool and roughly chop cashews. Line an 8x8 pan with parchemnt paper, leaving nice long overhang that you'll use to press the bars into place.
  2. Chop dates really well, forming a pretty sticky paste (or you can also pulse them in a food processor). Combine dates, maple syrup, peanut butter, salt and cinnamon in a medium saucepan. Heat over a low flame, carefully smooshing mixture around until it's soft and well mixed, about 5 minutes.
  3. In a large bowl combine oats, cashews, date mixture and any other add-ins of choice. Us a wooden spoon, or slightly damp hands to mix it well (it will be pretty sticky!). Press mixture into lined pan, folding parchment paper over top to keep your hands from sticking. Press really firmly here!
  4. Refridgerate for about hour before slicing into bars or squares.