delicious no-bake granola bars … with dried cherries, brazil nuts + coconut
Let me start this off by saying I have never really been a granola bar lover, and the hippy in me has never had a desire to make my own at home. I've always thought of granola bars as a food that you keep in your glove box for "emergencies". A yum-less snack that you force yourself to eat when you have hunger pains and there is nothing else in site for you to munch on.
Well … not anymore, my friends. This homemade version I have for you has completely changed my feelings about granola bars. I will even go as far to say that this is one of the better healthy snack foods I have ever popped in my mouth. Truth bombs.
A couple of weeks ago, I got two requests in one day to come up with a granola bar recipe for this site. I thought to myself … really? Granola bars? Do people really want to see a granola bar recipe? Apparently, so. With that I thought, there has to be a way to make a granola bar tasty, and something that you look forward to eating instead of just eating for the sake of convenience.
In searching for recipes, I became most fascinated with ones that you didn't have to bake. That sounded easy, and I like easy. Also, the no-bake recipes require a nut butter to hold everything together, and you know how obsessed I am with nut butter.
One of my favorite parts about this recipe, besides the fact that it is addictingly delicious, is that it is pretty much fool-proof. You mix a bunch of ingredients together, stick it into a pan and stick it in the fridge. Your measurements do not have to be exact, and you can interchange almost every ingredient for what you have available.
If you're in the mood for dried blueberries and almonds, go for it. If you don't have any hemp seeds hanging around, leave them out.
When I made my first batch of these, I had my people/ harshest critics try them out. Not only did they like them, I had to hide the rest so that I was able to have one for breakfast the next day. I then proceeded to make another batch the following day so that I could snack on them throughout the week. One taster even said that if these were sold at her local coffee shop she would eat them everyday, and I would agree, but you and I both know that homemade versions are always better than something that is packaged and store bought. Case in point right here.
no-bake granola bars
As mentioned, this recipe is very flexible and forgiving. You can interchange the nuts, dried, fruit, and seeds for what you like or have available. Same for the nut butter. Feel free to add in additional things not mentioned such as cacao bits or pumpkin seeds.
6-8 granola bars
1 1/2 cups of rolled oats
1/2 cup of dried apricots, diced
1/2 cup of dates, pitted and diced
1/2 cup of of almond butter (or any kind of nut butter you like)
1 cup of brazil nuts (or any kind of nut you like), roughly chopped
1/2 cup of dried cherries (or any kind of dried fruit you like), roughly chopped
3/4 cup of toasted coconut, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons of hemp seeds (optional)
2 tablespoons of chia seeds (optional)
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of vanilla (I used this fancy ground vanilla that I have which worked so well, but you can also use 2 vanilla beans - scraped, or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
First, toast the oats:
- Pre-heat the oven to 350º
- Spread the oats out on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly before incorporating.
Soak and puree the dates + apricots, and heat up the nut butter:
- Place the chopped dates and apricots in a bowl and cover with warm water. Allow them to sit for about 10 minutes and drain completely.
- Transfer them to a high-powered blender or food processor and puree until they become a smooth paste.
- Unless your nut butter is at room temperature, you will want to warm it up slightly so that it is easier to incorporate. To do so, heat it up in a small saucepan until it starts to melt.
Then, combine all of the ingredients and form it in a pan:
- In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients including the toasted oats, the pureed apricots and dates, as well as the melted nut butter. Stir until everything is evenly distributed.
- Transfer the mixture to a baking dish. You can use any size and shape you like. The bigger the dish, the thinner the bars will be. I went for a smaller sized pan because I like them in bigger chunks. Push the mixture down so that it fill the dish, and is uniform and flat at the top.
- Cover, place it in the refrigerator, and chill for a couple of hours until the mixture is sticking together well. You can also freeze these if you prefer. If stored well, they should last for about two weeks in the fridge, or longer in the freezer.