Quick and Easy Granola Bars

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Granola Bars used to be one of my favourite after school snacks. The Quaker Oats Chewy Chocolate Chip were my favourite – don’t try and convince me of the merit of crunchy granola bars – and they continue to elicit a strong nostalgic response.  They would be enjoyed with a tall glass of cold milk and the best of late afternoon television.  I think at the time I thought they were somehow more nutritious or at least less unhealthy than a regular chocolate bar.  While that point may be arguable – that specific brand does actually have less sugar than average – what is true is that list of ingredients on most store-bought granola bars is long, excessive and often proliferated with the usual line-up of hard to pronounce chemical compounds and/or additives.  The oddity of this is that granola bars are, or at least should be, relatively simple.  They are basically just granola with some form of binder element that holds them in bar form.

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In an attempt to avoid this mess of unnecessary components, I came up with a quick and simple granola bar recipe that consists of only a handful of ingredients.  Disclaimer though, if you’re trying to avoid things like added sugar or corn syrup etc., you’ll have to be cautious about the brand of granola you’re using, unless of course you want to make your own from scratch.

Ingredients (makes 6-8 granola bars):
2 cups of granola (I used Love Crunch’s Dark Chocolate and Red Berry Granola)
1 cup of pitted dates
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of peanut butter
1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup of chia seeds

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Directions:
1. In a blender or food processor, pulse the 1 cup of dates with the 1/4 cup of water until smooth.  Add more water if necessary.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add together the 2 cups of granola, 1/2 cup of peanut butter, 1/4 cup of pumpkin.  Add in the blended dates and mix it until everything binds together.
3. Line a 9 x 9 baking pan with parchment paper.  Scoop the granola mixture into the pan and use a spoon or other utensil to smooth out the top.  
4.  Chill in the refrigerator overnight or at least four or five hours in advance of eating.

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