You know those days where you feel like you’ve already pigged out, but you have a sweet craving? Or those days where you get up late and need something for that breakfast energy boost, but have no time?
These little nibbles are perfect for just such a time.
They’re easy and quick to make, no-bake and you can throw most things in, so perfect for tailoring to your taste.
The best thing I’ve found, though, is that they give you a great jolt of energy, but the fibre in the oats helps with steady digestion – so it’s not like a sugar rush with the inevitable crash. Although these are only about 90kcal per square (3cmx3cm) they are super sweet and are great for fending off a sugar craving too – I’ve found them really helpful in ditching sugary snacks and for replenishing energy levels after a tough workout. They’re also lovely and chewy, with a nice bit of crunch from the oats and walnut.
All the recipes for granola bars that I liked the looks of were “in American” (ie measured in cups) which I’m not used to, so I did this by eye and it worked relatively well. How do you know how big a Cup is, anyway? Here when I say use a “cup” I’m talking about a coffee-mug-worth of each item. Plus don’t forget the ingredients are totally interchangeable with anything of a similar consistency. The ones with a * beside are essential to the finished product, though.
½ cup peanut butter*
½ cup pure maple syrup, agave nectar or honey*
1 ½ cups of oats or clusters crushed up*
1 cup soft dates*
1 handful raisins
1 handful walnuts, broken up
1tbsp pine nuts
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
1. Throw the dates in a food processor until they’re chopped super fine. They’ll go the sort of consistency of the middle of skittles. Here I roll this by hand into a “log” then cut it into little chunks. It helps it separate better later on.
2. In a mixing bowl, scramble up the dates, nuts, raisins and chocolate chips. I do this by hand with everything but the chocolate, then add the chocolate last and stir with a cold spoon. It needs to be really well mixed up so you get an even spread of ingredients through the bars.
3. In a saucepan, over a medium heat, melt the peanut butter & maple syrup into thick, runny consistency. Just enough to melt the peanut butter. It’ll look a bit like peppercorn sauce. It’s not.
4. Pour the mixture over the oats etc and stir it all in. Give it a really good mix. I like to get my hands involved here, but whatever. Its quite messy, so that’s optional.
5. When its mixed in nicely spread out on a lined baking tray and sprinkle on a few more chocolate chips if you fancy it. Throw it in the fridge until it sets.
This made me about 24 3cmx3cm bites but I suppose that depends how thick you make them. Mine are about 1cm thick. They’re really sweet so you don’t need fingers of them like you get with most granola bars.
These are also delicious if you throw in chopped cherries, dried apricots, cranberries, different types of chocolate chip, coconut flakes… the list is endless and its fun to experiment with these as they’re so easy to make.
Hope you enjoy! What treats will you be adding into yours?