I recently stopped buying granola bars at the grocery store. It was a sacrifice, because granola bars had always been a perfect on-the-go snack, breakfast, or treat. I stopped buying them partly because I’ve been trying my hardest to avoid convenience foods that contain crazy ingredients I can’t pronounce. Mainly, though, it’s because a lot of store-bought granola/energy bars contain as many calories and as much sugar as most desserts, and I would most definitely rather have the dessert.
I’d been searching for a healthy alternative, and I stumbled upon a recipe for Homemade Energy Snack Bars from Call Me PMc on Pinterest. I fully intended to follow the recipe to the letter: I even made my grocery list with the recipe open on my computer. Something must have malfunctioned in my brain, because I got home from the store, went to make them and realized I had forgotten to buy both dried cranberries and agave nectar. That’s two of the six ingredients in the recipe. Awesome.
Luckily, I had some other dried fruit in the house, and I figured (correctly) that I could substitute honey for the agave. I also doubled all of the quantities, because an 8×8-inch pan’s worth of bars would quickly succumb to my Better Half’s monstrous appetite. The end result was thankfully delicious, but I still definitely want to try the original recipe!
I love the texture of these bars. The dates, dried apricots and prunes are soft and chewy against the crunchy toasted almonds, and the chia seeds add a little bit of pop in each bite. I was worried all the fruit and the honey would result in a sickly-sweet bar, but the flax seeds and the saltiness of the almonds balance the flavours perfectly.
The huge bonus with this recipe is that it is amazingly simple to throw together: you just blitz everything together in a food processor and press it into the pan. That’s it. Just chill in the refrigerator for an hour or two to make cutting them easier. Just try to remember to buy all of the ingredients you’re going to need (or be prepared to improvise).
- 2 cups dates (I used Medjool)
- 2 cups roasted salted almonds
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 1 cup prunes (dried plums)
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 4 tablespoons honey
- Pulse dates and almonds in the bowl of a large food processor until chopped medium fine. Add apricots, prunes, chia seeds, flax seeds, and agave. Pulse 6 to 8 times or until ingredients are combined. (Note: if you have a smaller food processor, you may need to work in batches!)
- Line a 9x13-inch dish with aluminum foil. Dump ingredients into pan. Press down firmly to form a flat even top.
- Refrigerate a couple of hours to enable easier/cleaner cutting. Store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
Source: Adapted slightly from Homemade Energy Snack Bars from Call Me PMc