These bars saved my life a few weeks ago when we traveled.
Alright…maybe I’m exaggerating, but they definitely saved my tastebuds. You may remember when I posted about being really sick right before we were due to fly to Florida for a much needed break from the weather. I was on an antibiotic and steroids for two weeks during our trip that wrecked havoc on my tastebuds. I’d wake up in the middle of night tasting like I had a mouthful of metal, but I kept a few of these bars next to the bed and a couple of bites calmed everything way down. A batch of these filling bars traveled easily on the plane to Florida individually wrapped in a container.
I know what you’re thinking…why would you make granola bars when you can buy them? If you’ve ever read the labels on many granola bars, you may be surprised by the fat, sugar, and ingredient list. These bars are just sweet enough and easy to tailor to taste by simply switching up a couple of add-ins (such as toasted coconut, dried cranberries, and/or just about any other nut you can think of).
- 1 1/2 Cups rolled oats
- 1/4 Cup sesame seeds
- 1/2 Cup whole raw almonds
- 1 Cup medjool dates, pitted and diced
- 1/3 Cup cocoa nibs (or dark chocolate chips)
- 1/4 Cup honey
- 1/4 Cup creamy salted natural peanut butter
- pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Prepare an 8-inch square pan by lining with parchment paper, making it long enough to cover sides and create a sling. You may have to cross two pieces of paper depending on the width of your paper. Make sure you press the paper into the corners of the pan. I use black plastic binder clips to hold it in place (See photo).
Spread oats and sesame seeds in a single layer on a cookie sheet and toast in oven until slightly browned, about 12 minutes. Remove and scrape into a large bowl.
Spread almonds on cookie sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes. Immediately remove from cookie sheet and place on a cutting board to cool.
Meanwhile, place dates in a small bowl and add enough water to cover the dates. Let soak for 10 minutes and drain. Chop very fine or pulse in a food processor. Add dates to the bowl with oats and sesame seeds.
Chop the almonds and add to the bowl.
Melt peanut butter, honey, and salt in a small pan on low heat just until mixed and smooth. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Add cocoa nibs to bowl and toss to incorporate with other ingredients.
Add the PB and honey mixture to the bowl and stir with a spatula or large spoon to incorporate (I use 2 spoons because it's sticky).
Press the mixture into the pan with your fingers. Make sure it's even and pressed into the sides and corners.
Set in refrigerator to harden for at least 30 minutes.
Cut bars with a serrated knife while still very cold.