Hello friends! How was your weekend? Awesome, I hope.
John and I did some relaxing, brunching, pizza-ing, and working on a new food photography product. I also bought and returned a pair of overpriced yoga pants out of sheer buyer’s remorse. Does that ever happen to you? Sometimes, we just have to make mistakes like that in life.
It’s been a week since I’ve eaten ALL of these granola bars, but I’m still dreaming about them and peeking in the freezer to make sure I didn’t overlook one last piece. They’re that good.
These brownie granola bars kind of started out as a failure. The idea was to make date-sweetened brownies and I resorted to adapting my go-to Vegan GF Black Bean Brownies. Problems ensued. I ate one and had to throw the rest away. Not good. Not good at all.
Back to the drawing board.
In life do you ever find yourself trying to fit a square peg in a round hole? That’s what I was doing with these brownies. I wanted date-sweetened brownies but the blog universe was telling me something different.
When I’m trying to fit my square recipe into a round hole, I rethink it. The result was a simple, naturally-sweetened, healthy granola bar that was a little on the decadent side – just the way I like it.
These bars DO indeed taste like a raw brownie.
They require just 7 ingredients.
They’re no bake, aside from toasting your oats and nuts (an optional step).
They’re loaded with antioxidants, fiber, protein and healthy fats.
They’re incredibly satisfying.
They’re perfect for breakfast, dessert or a quick snack.
They’re uber chocolaty.
They’re really just kind of perfect.
So what do they taste like? Supreme awesomeness. They’re
& Mega filling
I did have one for breakfast and found it quite filling. But for the most part I ate these as a healthy dessert. I’d go to the freezer, break off 1/3 and snack. Then repeat for the next 30 minutes until it was gone. Self control comes in waves, people, especially with these bars.
Healthy Brownie Granola Bars
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (GF for gluten-free eaters)
- 1 cup raw nuts (roughly chopped // I used half almonds, half pecans)
- 1 cup raw walnuts
- 2 cups pitted dates (soaked for 10 minutes in warm water then drained)
- 3/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
- 1/4 cup natural salted almond butter (or peanut butter)
- 1/4 cup agave nectar or maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
- Optional step: Toast your oats and pecans in a 350-degree F (176 C) oven for 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw – I prefer the toasted flavor.
- Process walnuts in a food processor until a loose meal is reached. Remove from bowl and set aside.
- Add dates and process until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a “dough” like consistency. (Mine rolled into a ball).
- Add walnut meal and cocoa or cacao powder back in with the dates and process to combine.
- Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the (toasted) oats and nuts and stir to combine. You may have to use your hands to really incorporate the mixture well.
- Next, warm honey and almond butter in a small skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until combined and pourable. Pour over brownie mixture and then thoroughly stir using a wooden spoon. (I opted to put plastic bags on my hands and mix that way to better incorporate the mixture.)
- Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to a 9×13 dish (or similar size pan // adjust if altering batch size) lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily.
- If using a 9×13, ONLY USE 3/4 of the pan so they have the proper thickness. Otherwise they’ll be too thin. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap and press down firmly to even out the top. Freeze for 15-20 minutes to harden.
- Lift bars from pan and chop into 12 even bars (or more if you prefer). Store in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge to keep them extra fresh. They will get a little sticky when left out at room temp.