When I was in college I was the queen of snacks. I was away from home or my dorm 90% of the time, so I had to rely on quick meals to get me through the day, granola bars being one of my favorites.
Granola bars were granola bars, as far as I was concerned. That was, until I discovered the Larabar. Simple ingredients, naturally sweetened, amazing flavors – I was hooked after one bite of the apple pie flavor (a stellar recommendation from my sister – my longtime partner in healthy eating crime).
Though I’ve made date-sweetened granola bars in the past (see my 5 Ingredient Granola Bars, Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Bars, Super Seedy Bars, Brownie Granola Bars), I’ve yet to make a plain and and simple peanut butter version.
This simple, 3-ingredient recipe is an homage to my beloved Larabar Peanut Butter Cookie bar. After a recent trip to Trader’s left me in need of a snack, it was the first thing I reached for. As soon as I got to my car I downed that thing like a champ and thought, “Yep, these need to happen on the blog.”
Well, it’s happening NOW.
These bars are so easy it’s almost a non-recipe.
Dates pulsed in a food processor, then mixed with natural salted peanut butter and rolled oats. The result is a salty-sweet dough that can either be rolled into snack balls or pressed into a pan and cut into bars that are super handy for on-the-go snacking.
These bars are seriously magic. They’re:
I thought these would make the perfect on-the-road snack for those traveling next week for the holidays. Though John and I will be cozied up right in our little Portland apartment, eating Shepherd’s Pie and watching an Office Christmas marathon, I’m considering making another batch of these gems solely for couch-time snacking.
Consider these bars a little gift from me to you this holiday season. I hope all is merry and bright in your world, and you’re spending next week with the ones you love most.
And, speaking of gifts, if you’re looking for gifts for foodies and aspiring home cooks, check out our Simple Kitchen Essentials post! It’s a top-to-bottom account of everything in our simple kitchen.
If you make these bars, pretty please let us know! Take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see. Cheers!
- 1 1/2 cups packed (~32 dates) dates, pitted (soak in warm water for 10 min if not sticky and moist)
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter (creamy, salted is best, but most any kind will do)*
- 1/2 cup rolled oats (GF for gluten free eaters)
- If your dates are not sticky and moist, soak in warm water for 10 minutes and then drain. Otherwise, proceed to step 2.
- Add dates to a food processor and pulse until only small bits remain - it will likely clump into a ball - that’s what you want. If any big pieces remain, use a knife or spatula to push them down, then turn the machine back on to pulse.
- Add peanut butter and oats and pulse a few more times until incorporated, stirring and scraping down sides as needed. If you prefer denser bars, add more oats.
- Transfer to a parchment-lined 8x8 dish and press down until flat, OR scoop out 1 Tbsp amounts and roll into a ball and place on a baking sheet or plate. Transfer to freezer to set.
- If making bars, slice into 8-10 bars and store in the fridge or freezer to keep fresh. They can be a little flimsy at room temp, so be gentle with how you stack them.
- Will keep in the fridge for several weeks, and in the freezer for up to a couple months or more.
*Adapted from my No Bake Cookie Bars
*If your peanut butter isn’t salted, consider adding 1/4 tsp sea salt.