Chewy, chocolatey, almondy, coconuty, peanut buttery, sweet perfection is what these granola bars should be called.
However, some of those words are made up, and that is also a ridiculously long name for such a tiny bar.
But, it’s so true! I made these granola bars to take to work for breakfast and they instantly became a fast favorite. I used granola cereal for the bars this time because I had a small amount that I wanted to get rid of. The cereal is a but processed and does have some sugar, but aside from that there is no added sugar and no processed ingredients.
Next time I would just use plain rolled oats. I’d recommend using those if you wish for completely non processed granola bars.
These bars are also no-bake, so they come together super quick. All they need is some time to set in the fridge!
I made these bars to eat for breakfast, but they’d be amazing as a snack too. Imagine you’re working away and 3pm hits and you just need a little something. Reach for these bars instead of a sugary snack and you’ll feel so much better.
I can also see these being perfect for bringing on hikes. They’ve got tonnes of good ingredients in them to give us energy instead of being filled with processed ingredients.
I’ve noticed lately that if I eat a lot of sugar my face breaks out like crazy. So, in order to avoid that (and for obvious other health reasons) I’m trying my best to drastically reduce my sugar intake. I’m not going to go cold turkey and cut it out completely. I have a huge sweet tooth, so that would definitely backfire on me. I think a more gradual change towards cutting out sugar would be great. Plus, that will make it easier to stick with.
These granola bars are one of the first steps in my slash sugar plan. I don’t drink coffee anymore and have replaced that with matcha green tea. I don’t like how sugar tastes in matcha so I use a smaller amount of honey. This makes the tea only slightly sweet and free of any processed sugar.
Another recipe I created to try to rid my life of processed sugar is these mixed berry bars. They’re super delicious and fruity, plus they’re vegan and gluten free!
There are a ton of good for you ingredients in these bars, so I wanted to break them down a bit.
I used unsweetened shredded coconut flakes for this recipe. Make sure that you get unsweetened as you don’t want them to be coated in processed sugar. I also chose to toast my coconut flakes since I much prefer that flavor. However, if you don’t like the taste of coconut, feel free to leave it raw. I also chose to use a medium grate of coconut since I wanted to be able to taste it. You could use a finer grate of coconut if you want it to blend in more. Or, go for coconut flakes for bigger bites of coconut flavor.
I use sayer dates in my recipes since they’re easier to find and the come in bulk at my grocery store. I’ve always been happy with these dates, but if you’d prefer medjool dates then go with that!
I highly recommend buying local honey if you can. Firstly to support local farmers and secondly because honey from different regions will taste slightly different so it’s fun to try different ones.
I used natural peanut butter in my bars. If all you have is standard peanut butter you could use that, but just know that there is processed sugar added to that. I typically try to find the natural crunchy peanut butter because I like the little pieces of nuts. If you have any other nut butters at home feel free to use those instead. Almond would be a great option or even pecan butter if you can find it.
Pure vanilla extract is ideal and will give you the best flavor. However, if all you have is artificial then that’s fine too!
I chose to use almonds for this recipe. They’re what I had on hand and are a less expensive nut so I think they’re a good option. Cashews would also be great here! Whatever nut you choose to use I would recommend toasting. It brings out the flavor a lot better and provides these bars with some crunch.
I had to use granola the first time I made these because that’s all I had on hand. However, I’d recommend using plain rolled oats to ensure that you aren’t adding any unnecessary sugar to these bars.
Similar to your nut butter, you can use different types of nut flour in these bars. I used almond because – surprise – that’s what I had on hand. If you don’t have a nut flour you could use a food processor to grind up whole nuts. Just make sure you don’t swap out the nut flour for AP flour. Since we’re not cooking these bars you don’t want to be eating raw flour. Plus, that would really change the flavor and texture of them which we don’t want.
You can use a mix of whatever you have on hand. I chose chia and flax seeds for their fibre but there are a lot of other options available. Toasted pumpkin seeds would also be great here.
I wanted to add a little bit of sweetness to these bars with the addition of chocolate, but didn’t want them to be too rich. Or too full of sugar. This meant that I went with a dark chocolate that was 70% cocoa. This gives you a little bit of indulgence while still keeping these bars fairly healthy. I love using this chocolate in these granola bars.
This recipe is also great because there are so many different ways to customize these bars.
Try adding in dried unsweetened fruit like cranberries or currants. You could also include a freeze dried fruit like strawberries or raspberries.
You could even try omitting the chocolate and adding some lime zest to make the bars have more of a tropical flavor.
The flavor combinations are honestly endless!
Also, I went around grabbing random things from my pantry to put these bars together. So, if you don’t have something like flax or chia seeds just skip it.
Customize the bars to your unique tastes to ensure that you love every bite.
Healthy, Chewy Almond & Coconut Granola Bars
- 1 rounded cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 1/2 cups dates chopped
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/3 rounded cup toasted almonds
- 1/2 cup rolled oats
- 1/4 cup almond flour
- 1 tsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp ground flax seeds
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4-1/3 cup dark chocolate chopped
- Line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment paper so that it hands over on all sides. Set aside.
- In a non stick frying pan over medium low heat add the chopped dates, honey, peanut butter and vanilla
- Stir until the dates have started to break apart and the mixture has come together. This should take about 5-7 minutes in total.
- Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients. The chocolate will melt if you add it now, which I liked. If you don’t want your chocolate to melt and you’d like it to stay in chunks refrigerate the mixture for 10 minutes before adding the chocolate.
- Transfer the mixture to your lines baking pan and pat it down so that it’s level and it reaches all corners.
- Allow the bars to set in the fridge for 30-45 minutes before slicing into 12 bars and serving.
- Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
I was so happy with how these bars came out, especially since I’ve never made granola bars before. The dates are the perfect ingredient to hold the bars together. They also have a delicious caramel-like flavor! The chia seeds and coconut give the bar an amazing texture and the whole almonds add a nice crunch.
I think these bars are a great first step towards reducing the amount of refined sugar that we eat. I’d love to hear any suggestions for more refined sugar free recipes to add to my collection.
Next up, I think I’m going to try to make a more tropical version by getting rid of the chocolate. I’ll swap in some lime zest, use cashews instead of almonds and will have a tropical treat for breakfasts.
I wrapped my bars in parchment paper for the photos. If you’re going to be bringing them anywhere I recommend a resealable silicone bag!
I’d also love to hear what you think if you make these almond coconut granola bars for yourself!
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