Dates, maple syrup and dried cranberries sweeten this homemade variation of granola bars, minus the added sugar. While these bars make for a quick and easy breakfast option, they will work equally well as a midday snack. When stored in an airtight container, these bars will keep well in the refrigerator or store in the freezer for up to 1 month, making for the perfect grab-and-go snack for the whole family.
Makes about 10 squares
2 cups of pitted dates, pulsed into a paste (will equal 1 cup)
½ cup water
½ cup of natural peanut butter or nut butter of your choice
1 Tbsp Pure Maple Syrup
1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
½ cup of shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp of flaxseeds
½ tsp of ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp of salt
1 oz of raw almonds, divided
1 oz dried cranberries, divided
ONE: Line an 8×8 square pan with parchment paper that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray leaving an overhang over the pan so you will be able to remove the bars easily.
TWO: Add dates and water to a blender and blend until a paste forms.
THREE: Add the date paste to a medium pot on medium low heat and heat for about 3-5 minutes, until the paste becomes soft. Then add peanut butter and maple syrup. Stir constantly to combine and shut off the heat once the mixture is smooth and all the ingredients are evenly incorporated (about 1 minute).
FOUR: Stir in the vanilla extract then, ground cinnamon, and salt and combine. Then, fold in the shredded coconut, rolled oats and flaxseeds. Fold in half of the almonds and cranberries until combined.
FIVE: Pour the granola mixture into the parchment-lined prepared pan. Spread evenly and press down firmly using a flat spatula. Sprinkle remaining almonds and dried cranberries evenly and press down firmly again with spatula or your hands to flatten and bind the cranberries and almonds. Chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight to set.
SIX: Remove from the fridge and use the parchment overhang to transfer the uncut bars to a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut into even rectangles.
SEVEN: Individually wrap each bar in parchment paper or wax paper so they are easy to transport. Store the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for maximum enjoyment.
Julie Miguel is an iRun food contributor, where you’ll find a selection of weekly recipes and food ideas. She is a home cook, and food influencer and has worked with a national television, print and online media outlets. You can also follow her food discoveries and travel adventures at Daily Tiramisu.