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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Homemade No-Bake Granola Bars

We like granola bars in our house.  We usually have them for breakfast, but they're good for a nice snack once in a while, too.  Problem is, while many store-bought versions look like they're healthy, they really aren't that great.  (They're healthier than other options, but you know what I mean.)

So I found a recipe in a blog by David Lebovitz for No-Bake Granola Bars.  They sounded good, so I tried them--with a little bit of adjustments to my taste and what we had on hand. 

Well, not only were they easy to make, they were really tasty!  Salty and sweet, a little chewy and a little crunchy.  And no high-fructose anything.  Try them!

NO-BAKE GRANOLA BARS (adapted from David Lebovitz)
Play around with the kinds of fruit and nuts you put in the bars--use what you like or what you think would make a good combination.  Make sure you do not skip toasting, though--it's a huge part of the great taste.

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup whole almonds
1 cup pitted dates, diced
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup dried fruit (I used cherries and blueberries), coarsely chopped
1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup honey (I added a little more when mixing because it looked a little dry)
Pinch of salt
  • Preheat oven to 350 (Yes, I know they're "no-bake".  This is for toasting some of the ingredients.)
  • Line the bottom of an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper.
  • Spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast for 8-12 min, stirring once or twice, until they are slightly browned.  (Keep an eye on them--my oven did it in about 8 min.  Another minute or so and they would have burned.)  Scrape into a large bowl.
  • Spread the almonds on the baking sheet and toast for 10 min.  (You'll smell them when they're close.)  Let cool slightly, then coarsely chop them and add to the oats.
  • Meanwhile, heat the peanut butter, honey and salt in a small saucepan, stirring until warm, but not boiling. 
  • Add dates, chocolate chips, dried fruit and peanuts to the bowl.  Combine.
  • Pour warm peanut butter mixture over the stuff in the bowl and stir until completely incorporated.  (I used a wooden spoon, but hands would work great, too.  This is where I added a little more honey to hold things together a bit better.)
  • Transfer to the pan and pat it down as flat as possible.  Freeze for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the freezer and run a thin knife around the edge to release it from the sides.  Tip is out on a cutting board, remove the parchment and cut into rectangles.  (I cut it in half and then made bars by cutting parallel to the first cut.)
  • Store them in the fridge.  Enjoy!

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