We were all craving a sweet snack today but I didn't want to cave and buy something processed and unhealthy, so I started searching my trusty resource (Pinterest) for some recipes. I settled on granola bars but didn't want to turn on the oven, so I was sticking with no bake. I found several recipes and this one was my inspiration for the bars I ended up making. They are so good!!! Little A actually ate 2.5 bars while I was trying to individually wrap them and freeze them for this weeks snacks :) I am thinking I may be making another batch later this week because these are not going to last!
One thing to note about these bars, they are not low calorie or low fat but all the fats are healthy from the nuts and nut butter and since you make them yourself you know there aren't any crazy chemicals or preservatives like you find in store bought bars. That and they are so filling and satisfying they pack a punch for the calories.
Healthy No Bake Granola Bars:
2 cups oats
2 cups puffed cereal (Rice Krispies, puffed rice, etc...)
1.75 cups dried fruit (I used cranberries)
.5 cups chopped nuts (I used almonds)
.5 cups sunflower seed kernels
.25 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
.25 cups Grape Nuts (I ground mine in the coffee grinder, but this is not necessary)
.25 cups chocolate chips (optional)
.5-.75 cups honey or agave (more will make the bars sweeter and stickier, but if they are crumbly as you are mixing, I suggest adding the whole .75 cups)
.5 cups nut butter (any kind will do, I used natural peanut butter)
1 tsp extract (I used peanut butter but you could use vanilla, almond, etc...)
Place all dry ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Place honey and nut butter in a sauce pan and heat on medium until thoroughly melted. Add extract to melted mixture and heat until just boiling then remove from heat.
Pour half the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly. Then add second half of wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. **Do not use your hands, it will just stick. Use a spatula or plastic spoon.**
Grease a 9x13 pan. Pour mixture into pan and press firmly into the bottom of the pan. **This step is key. You must press the mixture down firmly or the bars will not be bars, they will be super yummy granola**
Place pan in the freezer for minimum 1 hour (I kept mine in for 3 hours) and cut the bars. Mine made 27 bars (9 rows and 3 columns) but you can cut them into whatever portion size you want. Then individually wrap the bars with plastic wrap, place them in a freezer safe container and into the freezer, and you have the perfect, pre-portioned snack!
Happy Eating! :)
This recipe is being shared on Shrinking Kitchen's Cook and Share board yippee!