The Great Granola-bar Experiment
After getting through the candy-coated holidays, the last thing most of us want to do is put another super-sweet dessert or goodie into our mouths. In fact, we’ve probably created a whole list of resolutions to keep us from doing that very thing. So what do you do when you need to cure a craving but are determined to turn over a new leaf? Try these simple, nutritious bars that beat hunger without the help of preservatives, excess salt, or refined grains. Experiment by adding your family’s favorite dried fruits and nuts or even chocolate chips.
The recipe is so easy that I can usually just play a supervisory role as my five- and three-year-olds put the bars together. (Of course, I toast the oats, and heat the honey and peanut butter.) They particularly enjoy being able to use their hands to flatten the bars, but it’s hard for them to wait for their creations to firm up in the fridge. The bars will stay fresh in an airtight container for up to a week—if you can keep them around that long!
Homemade Granola Bars
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 2 cups packed pitted dates
- 2 cups roasted almonds
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
- Optional: Chocolate chips, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, raisins
- Toast oats in 350°F oven for 15 minutes.
- Soak dates in water for 10 minutes and drain. Chop dates in food processor for a minute until they form a dough.
- Put oats, dates, and almonds in bowl.
- Warm honey and peanut butter in small pan over low heat until combined. Pour mixture over dry ingredients while stirring until thoroughly combined.
- Stir in optional ingredients. Try 1/4 cup of each.
- Transfer mixture to 9x13 dish lined with waxed paper and press down until uniformly flattened. (You can use a smaller dish if you want; the smaller the dish, the thicker the bars.)
- Cover and place in refrigerator for an hour until firm.
- Remove and chop into even bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.