Hi, I think we need a moment to collect ourselves before we begin…..
Okay, are you ready? I think I am ready.
Friends, today I present to you PEANUT BUTTER APPLE GRANOLA BARS!!!!! Just in case you missed it!
Isn’t a crisp sliced apple with peanut butter just the ultimate snack for fall?! What if that fall snack turned into a granola bar?! These Peanut Butter Apple Granola Bars are loaded with peanut butter, toasty oats, crunchy raw buckwheat, a kiss of cinnamon for warmth and are studded with soft dried apple pieces. They are soft, chewy, satisfying and the perfect after school/after work/pre or post workout snack. Or even that 3 pm snack break – maybe with a hot mug of tea or coffee, whatever you prefer!
I know, I know, I KNOW what you are thinking. You are thinking: but wait, granola bars sound difficult to make. Don’t you have to bake them and make some kind of sticky gooey stuff to hold it all together?! And why would I want to make granola bars when I can just go buy them?!
The answer is no, you don’t have to bake them, well except for a quick toasting of the oats. And okay, you kind of have to make some gooey stuff to hold it all together BUT that gooey stuff is really easy – and it’s made out of dates, a lot of peanut butter and little bit of honey. Not so bad, right?!
AND yes, you could buy some granola bars – sometimes that’s just the way life is, I get it – BUT trust me, you will feel pretty awesome about yourself if you make your own granola bars. My number one reason for making granola bars is that I am in control of each ingredient that goes into them. A lot of store-bought granola bars have way too much sugar in them for my liking. They turn into more of a dessert and less of a healthy snack. By making your own granola bars you are using dates and honey, which are both lower on the glycemic index. Don’t worry, these granola bars don’t taste like cardboard, they have just the right amount of sweetness to still feel like a granola bar. Plus these cute little dudes are pretty easy to make – all you do is toast up your oats for added flavor, process your dates in a food processor until they are sticky, and melt your honey and peanut butter together. Mix everything up really well then press into your pan and place them in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill. Cut into bars, any size you prefer, and enjoy! See, that wasn’t so hard now, was it?
These Peanut Butter Apple Granola bars store beautifully in the freezer. Store half of them in the fridge to enjoy right away and stash the other half in the freezer for another time. Or you could even be all ambitious and make a double batch. You would be the queen of snack time!
- 1½ cups certified gluten free rolled oats
- 1 cup pitted Medjool dates*
- ¾ cups dried apples, divided (get the soft dried fruit, not the crunchy apple chips)
- ¼ cup dry roasted peanuts, salted, roughly chopped
- ¼ cup raw buckwheat (can sub more oats or nuts)
- 2 tablespoons hemp seeds (optional)
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
- ¾ cup natural unsalted peanut butter (only ingredient should be peanuts)
- ¼ cup honey (or sub maple syrup for vegans)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread the oats onto a rimmed baking sheet. Allow them to toast for 10 mintues, stirring halfway through. Be careful not to let them burn.
- Grease a 9X9 baking pan with vegetable oil or coocnut oil and line with parchment paper. Set aside.
- To the bowl of your food processor add the dates and 1/4 cup of the dried apples. Process until a ball forms, or small bits remain. Set aside.
- Roughly chop the remaining dried apples, 1/2 cup.
- Add the toasted oats, chopped apples, peanuts, buckwheat, hemp seeds, cinnamon, and nutmeg to a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Add the dates. Use a firm spatula to work the dates into the oat mixture. I find it's easiest to use my clean hands to really mix everything together.
- In a small skillet heat the peanut butter, honey, and vanilla extract together, stirring often, about 3 minutes. The mixture should be pourable.
- Pour the peanut butter mixture into the granola mixture. Use the spatula to mix everything until it's well combined.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Cover with another piece of parchment paper and use a flat-bottomed object, such as a measuring cup, to push the granola into the pan. You really want to get everything pressed in together as best as you can.
- Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Use the parchment paper to lift the granola bars out of the baking dish. Use a sharp knife to cut the bars into rectangles or squares. You can cut them into whatever size you prefer.
- Store the granola bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Store them in the freezer for even longer. Defrost before eating.
Adapted from my Seedy Buckwheat Granola Bars