These chewy granola bars are the best of both worlds; they're perfectly sweet and super nutritious.
After making these delish jam bars a couple weeks ago, I decided I really, really needed a peanut butter counterpart. These took four [read: five] batches to get right. The glue that holds them together is a delicious blend of peanut butter, honey and pureed dates.
These granola bars are great for busy mornings, packed lunches or a quick snack. You'll only need one mixing bowl and a baking dish, and the prep takes less than fifteen minutes. I've included a few recipe variations below if you're working with nut allergies or any other dietary preferences / sensitivities.
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Granola bar ingredients
You'll love how adaptable this recipe is. They're super simple and only require a little time in the fridge or freezer to set up. Below I've included a handful of variations, tips and tricks.
- rolled oats
- chopped walnuts
- shredded coconut
- sesame oil
- peanut butter
- sunflower seeds
- mini chocolate chips
- sea salt
Chocolate chip granola bar recipe
- Line a medium size baking dish (about 8 x 8) with parchment paper; set aside. The size of your baking dish will determine how thick your granola bars turn out, you can adjust the ingredients as needed to accommodate your preferred dish.
- Preheat the oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. Evenly distribute oats and chopped nuts over the baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes. Evenly sprinkle the shredded coconut over the oat mixture, gently stir to combine and bake for 5 additional minutes. Everything is done toasting when the oats and coconut begin turning golden brown and become fragrant. Set aside.
- Puree the pitted dates in a food processor until they form a dough-like consistency, about 1 minute. Some small chunks are totally fine.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine your nut butter of choice, pureed dates, honey, and preferred oil. Add toasted oat mixture and sunflower seeds; use a wooden spoon or hands to thoroughly mix everything together until uniformly combined. This step is definitely easiest with your hands.
- Press the granola bar mixture into the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top evenly with mini chocolate chips and sea salt. Press the mixture into baking dish really well with the bottom of a cup or measuring cup.
- Freeze the bars for 20 minutes or refrigerate for one hour before slicing. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
- These bars don't require any baking, but they're definitely best if you take a few extra minutes to toast up your oats, nuts and coconut. Toasting will add tons of flavor and give everything a nice, crispy texture to balance the chew.
- Puree the dates in a food processor until they form a nice, gooey ball (think cookie dough).
- It helps to use your hands to really mix everything together. These are thick and pretty tough to stir with a spoon.
- I love these bars with sesame oil, but they also work wonderfully with melted coconut oil or a decent, neutral olive oil.
- Almond butter or cashew butter are great substitutions for the peanut butter in this recipe.
- Sweetened or unsweetened coconut work well in this recipe, it just depends what you're looking for in your final granola bar. If you're not a fan of coconut, just skip it.
- Any type of toasted nut will work really well in these granola bars, I love them with toasted slivered almonds and chopped pecans.
- Sunflower seeds are my favorite, but pumpkin seeds or pepitas would also be fantastic.
- For gluten-free, make sure to use gluten-free oats.
- To make these vegan, use maple syrup. They won't hold together quite as well, but they're still super delicious.
Chewy granola bar tips & tricks
- Give these bars 20 minutes in the freezer or a full hour in the refrigerator to firm up. They'll fall apart on you if you try to slice them up before they have the chance to fully set.
- Use the bottom of a heavy cup or the back of a measuring cup to really press down your granola bars. The more you press, the better they'll stick. I typically spend a full two to three minutes on this step.
- If you don't want to use your hands to mash up your granola mixture; heat the nut butter, oil, honey and pureed dates in a small saucepan over low-medium heat for 3-4 minutes. This will make the "glue" a little easier to mix.
These bars store great in an airtight container at room temp for 3-4 days without losing any texture.
Looking for more snack ideas? Try my favorite granola or these delicious jelly breakfast bars!
- 2 cup rolled oats toasted
- 1 cup chopped walnuts toasted
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- ¼ cup honey or maple syrup
- 1 cup dates pitted
- 2 tablespoon sesame oil
- ½ cup peanut butter
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- Line a medium size baking dish with parchment paper; set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350º F. Line a baking sheet with nonstick baking mat or parchment paper. Evenly distribute oats and chopped nuts over baking sheet, bake for 8 minutes. Evenly sprinkle coconut over oat mixture, gently stir to combine and bake for 5 additional minutes; until oats and coconut begin turning golden brown and become fragrant. Set aside.
- Puree pitted dates in food processor until they form a dough-like consistency, about 1 minute.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine nut butter, pureed dates, honey, and oil. Add toasted oat mixture and sunflower seeds; use a wooden spoon or hands to thoroughly mix everything together until uniformly combined.
- Press granola mixture into prepared baking dish. Sprinkle the top evenly with mini chocolate chips and sea salt. Press mixture into baking dish really well with the bottom of a cup or measuring cup.
- Freeze for 20 minutes or refrigerate for one hour before slicing. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3-4 days.
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