No-Bake Granola Bars
One 8-inch (20cm) square pan
One of my many tries was made with almond butter. While it was tasty, almond butter doesn’t have quite the same smoothness of peanut butter. But it tasted good so feel free to play around with that, or other thick smooth, nut butters that interest you. And you can swap out any kind of nuts that you wish. I liked half almonds and half peanuts; the candied peanuts that I snuck in during one try were particularly tasty. I used Deglet nour dates, but any dates would work fine. Avoid chunks or bits sold as “date pieces,” which often contain oat flour and are kind of dry.
1 1/2 cups (150g) rolled oats
1/4 cup (45g) sesame seeds
1/2 cup 60g) whole almonds
1 cup (125g) pitted and diced dates
1/3 cup (50g) dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup (35g) dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup (75g) roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup (65g) smooth natural peanut butter
1/4 cup (80g) honey
pinch of salt
1. Line the bottom of an 8-inch (20cm) square pan with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).
2. Spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once or twice while baking, until they are slightly browned. Scrape them into a large bowl. Spread the almonds on the baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop and add the almonds to the oats.
3. Add the dates, chocolate chips, cherries, and peanuts to the bowl.
4. Heat the peanut butter, honey, and salt in a small saucepan, stirring until warm, but not boiling. Pour the peanut butter and honey over the mixture in the bowl and stir until it’s completely incorporated; using your hands is the best way to go. Transfer the mixture to the pan and pat it down so it’s as flat as possible. Freeze the granola bars for30 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the freezer and run a knife around the edge to release it from the pan. Tip the mixture out, remove the parchment paper, and cut into rectangles. If the mixture looks like it’s going to crumble (I hear ya!) – cut bars directly from the pan.
Store the granola bars in the refrigerator.