Do you ever have one of those days where nothing seems to be going right?
I had one of those days recently when I was making these granola bars, partially because of my three failed attempts at this recipe! Yes, three.
Who fails at granola bars? I do.
I desperately wanted to make baked granola bars. Doesn’t it just sound dreamy?
Well, you know what happens when you bake granola bars (at least in my experience)? They become dry and crumbly, and you’re left with a big pan of granola – not what I’m going for. Any advice on this matter? I’d love to know.
In the meantime, back to the drawing board.
Instead of giving up altogether (which I did consider), I looked back on my favorite granola bar recipe for a little inspiration and found just what I needed.
There’s no need to bake your granola bars once they’re formed in the pan. The only baking required is for toasting the oats and nuts to give them more flavor and crunch. Dates provide the “glue” to hold these together and keep them 100% naturally sweetened.
The best part? This recipe is simple: 8 ingredients, 20 minutes (plus chilling), and easy-to-master methods.
These granola bars are everything I’d hoped for! They’re:
Speckled with oats + coconut
Vegan + GF
These make the perfect easy breakfast or on-the-go snack. They would be especially ideal for hiking, camping, and whenever you need a post-workout nibble.
If you try this recipe, let me know what you think! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to snap a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with. Cheers, friends!
Crunchy Peanut Butter Granola Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats (gluten-free for GF eaters)
- 3/4 cup raw slivered almonds
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup creamy or crunchy peanut butter
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or agave nectar
- 20 medjool dates* (pitted and finely chopped // see notes if dates aren't sticky // 20 dates yield ~1 cup packed or 265 g)
- 2-3 Tbsp dried fruit (optional // such as blueberries or strawberries)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (176 C) and line an 8×8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- Add oats, almonds, and sunflower seeds to large baking sheet. If sunflower seeds or almonds are already roasted, don’t put them on the pan and reserve to add later.
- Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until light golden brown, stirring occasionally. In the last 5 minutes of baking, add the shredded coconut and stir. Once everything is light golden brown and toasty, remove from oven and set aside.
- In the meantime, add peanut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup to a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat until melted, stirring to combine. Remove from heat when well-mixed and pourable – about 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
- Add chopped dates, toasted oats, nuts, seeds, and dried fruit (optional) to a large mixing bowl and top with peanut butter mixture. Stir well to combine, using the spoon to mash the dates and make sure they’re evenly distributed – this will help the bars stick together. You can add more dates, as needed.
- Transfer mixture to prepared 8×8 dish and use a spatula to spread evenly and pack down. Lay a piece of parchment paper on top and use a drinking glass (or similar shaped object) to press down firmly and pack the mixture in place. It’s important it’s packed well or they can crumble when cutting.
- Place in freezer for 30 minutes to set. Cut into 9 even squares, or 10-12 bars (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
- For best freshness, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks or in the freezer for up to 1 month. I prefer mine in the freezer, as they stay freshest that way.
*Loosely adapted from my Healthy 5 Ingredient Granola Bars.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.