Now that holiday season is over, I’m feeling the need to step away from rich foods and sweets, and opt for healthier alternatives for the New Year. That’s why I decided to make these “after-holiday” granola bars for my family and co-workers this week. They’re sweetened with dates, lightly salted, and make a great healthy breakfast or snack option on the go. The best part is that they’re super easy to prepare, and totally customizable. You can mix in any kind of nut, dried fruit, or seed you prefer.
After-Holiday Granola Bars
• 1 lb dried pitted dates
• 2 cups rolled oats
• 2 cups raw unsalted nuts, roughly chopped
• 1 cup seeds
• 1 cup dried fruit
Preheat oven to 350◦F. Measure out two cups worth of raw, unsalted nuts and chop roughly. Spread chopped nuts evenly in a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring every five minutes, until nuts begin to brown. Remove nuts from oven and lightly salt. Allow to cool for ten minutes.
Pour the dates into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they break down and form a ball of paste. Transfer paste to a large bowl. Measure out the rest of the ingredients and set aside.
Using clean hands, knead the ingredients into the date paste starting with the rolled oats and the nuts. Next, add as many of the seeds and dried fruit pieces as you can until the mixture is uniformly sticky throughout. You don’t want the mixture to be too dry or the bars will have difficulty holding together. Taste for salt, add a pinch if needed, and mix again.
*Tip: If the mixture gets too dry, mix in a tablespoon or two of maple syrup.
Press mixture evenly into a baking dish lined with wax paper or parchment, and place in the freezer for one hour to harden. To remove the bars, pull up the sides of the wax paper or parchment, and cut into bars. Package individually using paper favor bags and personalized labels, and store in the freezer to keep bars fresh before eating or gifting.
More Healthy Recipes & Homemade Gifts:
Raw Salted Caramel Dip Sore Throat Remedy Homemade Granola A Gluten Free Pantry