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Granola Bars

These Granola Bars are naturally sweetened, easily customizable, require no baking, and are loaded with flavor! For an extra delicious snack, add a layer of chocolate on top!
Course Breakfast, Snack, Vegetarian
Cuisine American
Keyword granola bars
Prep Time 25 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 12 bars
Calories 161kcal
Cost $5.13

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (155g) packed pitted dates (See Note 1)
  • 1/3 cup (77g) creamy peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup (102g) pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (51g) quick one-minute oats
  • 1 cup (98g) old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup (98g) roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped (See Note 2)
  • 1/2 cup (85g) miniature chocolate chips (See Note 3)

Granola Bar Topping (Optional)

  • 1 cup (174g) dark or milk chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil

Instructions

  • PREP: Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper or foil, adding an overhang for easy removal. Don't spray with cooking spray as it makes these bars greasy. Set aside.
  • DATES: See Note 1. In a small blender jar (I use the small Twister jar and Blendtec) or a food processor, pulse the pitted dates to create a very thick and sticky paste. This can takes some patience; stir with a spoon and re-blend as needed.
  • ADD NUT BUTTER: Scoop out every last bit of the date paste and add to a large bowl. Add in the peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla extract. Use an electric hand mixer to beat until combined.
  • REMAINING INGREDIENTS: Stir in the quick oats, old-fashioned oats, miniature chocolate chips, and coarsely chopped pistachios. (If the pistachios and peanut butter you are using aren't salted, add a scant 1/4 teaspoon salt here, too.) Mix until thoroughly combined. If needed, knead the mixture with your hands to get a well-combined and incorporated mixture.
  • FORM INTO BARS: Transfer the mixture into the prepared 8x8-inch baking pan and very firmly press the mixture into an even layer. Use the bottom of a flat 1 cup measuring cup to help firmly press. Set aside.
  • OPTIONAL CHOCOLATE TOPPING: In a large, microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil (measured when the oil is in a hardened state). Microwave in bursts of 15 seconds, stirring in between each burst for 15 seconds, until melted and smooth. Pour melted chocolate evenly over the bars, and tip the pan around to create an even layer of chocolate on top. Cover and refrigerate until the chocolate is completely set.
  • CUT INTO BARS: Using the parchment paper overhang, remove the bars from the pan and cut into equal-sized bars. Store leftover bars in the fridge, covered, for up to 1 week.

Notes

Note 1: Here's where to find dates in the grocery store. I typically use Sunsweet® or Natural Delights® dates. I like Deglet Noor best, but also like Medjool -- both work great in these granola bars. Make sure the dates you're using are pitted. The dates should be soft enough that you can easily squish them, or pull them apart to remove the pit by hand. If they aren't this soft, you'll want to soak before using in this recipe. 
How to soak dates: soak them in warm water until they are soft enough to remove the pit by hand (from  30 minutes  to 2 hours). Make sure to drain well and remove any excess water before using in Granola Bars.
Note 2: For extra flavor (without extra effort), use roasted and salted nuts in these Granola Bars. If you only have raw nuts, you can quickly toast them in the oven (toast the oats while you're at it!). Add the nuts (and oats) to a lined sheet pan and bake for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees F, stirring once. The nuts and oats should smell fragrant, but not burned. If you aren't using salted nuts, add a scant 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt to these bars.
Note 3: If you'd like to keep these bars completely free of refined sugar, make sure to use sugar-free chocolate chips. Alternatively, swap out the chips for a different ingredient (use the same quantity and chop finely).

Nutrition

Serving: 12bars | Calories: 161kcal | Carbohydrates: 25.8g | Protein: 5.4g | Fat: 12.6g | Cholesterol: 3.2mg | Sodium: 42.9mg | Fiber: 2.9g | Sugar: 14.6g