Granola bars. The ultimate on-the-go breakfast or snack, right?
Only one issue. Most store-bought granola bars are filled with preservatives and outrageous amounts of artificial sweeteners, even the “healthy” ones.
Granola bars were never really my thing. It was only when I began making my own from scratch that I decided I must always keep a batch on hand.
The difference between store-bought granola bars and homemade ones is crazy. Store bought are too chewy for my liking, often times dried out, and sickeningly sweet in my opinion.
Homemade granola bars are soft and tender. They are sweetened with sticky dates for the base and a little honey.
The good news is that they are customizable and super-duper incredibly easy to make.
These particular granola bars might just be my new favorites.
They are perfectly sweetened by the dates and honey. They are packed with crunchy toasted almonds, coconut flakes, and oats. Throw in a little almond butter and almond extract to really round these babies out, and add a touch of chocolate chips.
Let’s talk about the chocolate chips for a minute. Some of the chocolate chips get melted from the warm almond butter and honey mixture, while others remain solid, creating a super chocolaty granola bar.
Almond, Coconut, Chocolate Chip Granola Bars are perfect for a snack, healthy dessert, or a quick breakfast eaten alongside some eggs.
Give these granola bars a try and I promise that you won’t want to buy the stale pre-packaged granola bars again.
- 1 cup raw almonds (preferably organic), roughly chopped
- 1 cup rolled oats (GF for gluten-free eaters)
- ¾ cup raw, unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 cup medjool dates, pitted
- 3 tablespoons raw, unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup salted almond butter (if not salted add ¼ teaspoon sea salt)
- ¼ cup honey (sub in agave nectar or maple syrup for vegan eaters)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract (optional but highly recommended)
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Extra shredded coconut for topping, (optional)
- Spread the almonds and oats in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in a 350 degree oven for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes add the coconut flakes and toast for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally for even toasting. This step is optional but highly recommended for a more intense flavor.
- Meanwhile line an 8 X 8” pan with parchment paper or plastic wrap; set aside.
- Soak dates in hot water for 5 minutes, 10 minutes if the dates look dry. Drain the dates from the liquid. In the bowl of a food processor add the dates and process for 3 minutes, or until the dates are mostly smooth. Scrape down sides and process longer if needed. Add the 3 tablespoons of shredded coconut and process for another 2 minutes, or until the shredded coconut is well incorporated into the dates.
- Add the dates and shredded coconut mixture, the almonds, oats, and flaked coconut mixture and the chocolate chips to a medium-sized mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon mix the ingredients together until the date mixture is broken down and the rest of the ingredients are well incorporated.
- In a small sauce pan heat the almond butter (and salt if needed), honey, and coconut oil over low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture is runny; turn off the heat. Add in the almond extract and vanilla extract and stir to combine.
- Pour the almond butter and honey mixture into the mixing bowl, working quickly to stir the ingredients together until thoroughly incorporated. Some of the chocolate chips will melt, distributing the chocolate throughout the batter.
- Spoon the slightly-still-warm batter into the prepared 8 X 8 baking sheet. Place a second piece of plastic wrap over top of the mixture. Using the palm of your hands or the bottom of a drinking glass, press down to even the batter out into the pan and slightly up onto the edges.
- Gently peel back the plastic wrap to top with shredded coconut (if desired). Cover the pan with plastic wrap, so that it is not touching the granola bars, and place in the freezer for 20 to 30 minutes, or until hard.
- Remove the pan from the freezer and remove the top layer of the plastic wrap from the pan. Use the corners of the bottom layer of plastic wrap or parchment paper to lift the entire granola bar out of the pan. Peel the parchment paper or plastic wrap off the bottom of the granola bar.
- Use a large, sharp knife to cut into 10 to 12 large bars or 20 to 24 smaller squares. Store in an airtight container with layers of parchment paper in between to prevent sticking. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week and the freezer for longer.