I have experimented with homemade granola bars for a long time now and I can confidently say that these are the best! With only 5 ingredients, this recipe is healthy and super easy to throw together, which is important considering how quickly these disappear in my house. These bars are naturally sweetened with dates and honey. If you are not a fan of dates, I still recommend giving these a try because you won’t even notice that the dates are there. The peanut butter flavor is incredible, but if you are not peanut butter obsessed like I am, you could try using almond butter instead.
One of the things that has frustrated me when making granola bars in the past is that the homemade ones never seem to stay together. This recipe finally seems to have the secret formula, because these do not fall apart. Chopped almonds or peanuts go great in these, but you can really use this recipe as a base to create many different variations. One of my favorites has chopped peanuts and peanut butter chips. Chocolate is always a great addition too if you want something a little sweeter. The peanut butter and honey is melted on the stove before being combined with the oats and dates, so if you add chocolate chips right away, they melt a bit and create a chocolate swirl throughout the granola bars. Amazing.
I like to individually wrap the bars in foil and store them in the freezer, but it’s not even necessary because we eat them so quickly. Good thing I recently bought a massive box of oats from Costco that should hopefully last me awhile. If you don’t want to freeze them, I would store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. Oh, and I insist you double the recipe below. I promise you won’t be sorry.
Peanut Butter Granola Bars
Yield: about 8 bars
1 cup packed dates, pitted
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
optional: 1 cup unsalted peanuts or unsalted roasted almonds, roughly chopped
Use a food processor to process dates until a “doughy” ball is formed.
Toast oats on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, or until slightly golden. Place oats, dates and nuts, if using, into a large bowl.
Heat the honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat until melted together. Pour over oat mixture. Use a spatula to combine all of the ingredients. You really have to mash the dates into the mixture, breaking them up until no large clumps remain.
Then pour the mixture into an 8×8 baking dish lined with parchment paper. Then put another piece of parchment paper on top and press down so that the mixture is evenly pressed into the pan. Place the pan in the fridge until bars are slightly solidified, about 45 minutes. (You can also place the pan in the freezer for less time if you are in a rush.) Lift the mixture out of the pan using the parchment paper and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container, or individually wrapped in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for up to a month.