We have had a busy couple of weeks at Nobó with lots of meetings, driving and a general lack of time. I often find it hard to find a healthy snack in petrol stations or ‘on the go’. In an ideal world I would make a batch of these every week and have them tucked in my bag to keep me going, in reality, it doesn’t happen often enough and I’m left wishing I had prepared ahead. They make a nice little afternoon treat too with a cup of tea and I imagine would make a good addition to a lunch box now that its back to school time! My nephew sweetly renamed granola bars ‘bar snacks’ a couple of years ago and so it has stuck.
I’ve left the recipe as I made it but these turned out a little sweeter than I personally would have liked so I would suggest if you like things less sweet you could reduce either the maple syrup or the quantity of dates. If you prefer to have them as a sweet treat then they are delicious as is. The combination of maple and peanut butter works nicely and the crunchy almonds are a real treat.
Recipe adapted from Select Stores ‘Homemade Healthy Granola Bars’
Fruit & Nut Bar Snacks (gluten free and dairy free)
- 2 cups jumbo oats (gluten free oats if you have a sensitivity)
- 1 cup crisp rice cereal/puffed rice
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup chia, sunflower, pumpkin, flax seeds or a mix of these (I used the Suma Omega Seed Mix)
- 1 cup chopped pitted dates (about 14 large Medjool dates)
- 1 cup dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, raisins etc. whichever you fancy, or a mix)
- 1/2 cup maple syrup**
- 1 cup natural peanut butter (or nut or seed butter of choice)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
- pinch of sea salt
- 80-100g dark chocolate (melted)
**We’ve had a couple of people wondering what maple syrup we use. When it comes to maple syrup it can be really pricey and put a dent in the bank balance, so we tend to follow Susan Jane White’s lead, she recommends a very reasonable maple syrup from the local 4-letter german discounter that retails at 3.99. It has worked fine for us in baking and recipes but by all means if you can stretch to a Grade A, all the better!
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/ 350F. Line a baking tray with parchment and spread the oats, almonds/nuts onto the sheet and bake for 10 minutes, shaking/stiring occasionally. Set aside to cool completely.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine the crisped rice, seeds, cooled oats and nuts.
3. Chop up the dates well to make a paste. You may need to add some hot water if they are a little dry so they start to become more sticky.
4. In a small pan over a low heat mix the maple syrup, peanut butter, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. When combined add in the date mix to form a lovely gooey peanut maple mix. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients and combine. At this point you will probably need to use your hands to bring everything together. The dry ingredients should be well coated and sticky.
5. Line your baking dish with parchment paper and pour the mix in, pressing down firmly so that it is as tight as possible. Using the back of a spoon or measuring cup works well to press it down.
6. Set a glass or metal bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt your chocolate until smooth. Once melted, drizzed or spread on top of the bars.
7. Refrigerate for at least an hour before cutting into pieces. Best kept in an airtight container in the fridge (they keep for about 5 days) or wrapped individually and kept in the freezer.