Granola bars are such a phenomenon and there are so many things to love about them! There are endless varieties (chewy, crunchy, raw, baked) and unlimited ingredients to put into them (nuts, fruits, seeds, chocolate, grains). They also go by an array of names — granola bars, energy bars, cereal bars, muesli bars, and flapjacks (anything I missed?). Call them whatever you want to call them, but so there’s no confusion, I’m going to name these little guys “healthy puffed cereal bars”, and they are the chewy and raw kind, with grains, nuts, fruits and seeds.
I love cereal bars because:
- Cereal bars are so delicious and you can get sweet, crunchy, chewy and savory all in one bite.
- Cereal bars are so healthy and packed with fiber and protein.
- Cereal bars can so easily be tossed in a bag for those days you are out and about.
- Cereal bars fit so well in a jacket pocket, especially if you’re out hiking, running or skiing the slopes and need a quick energy boost.
- Cereal bars can be eaten so quickly, just in case you are ever running late (erg, as I often am!)!
These Healthy Puffed Cereal Bar are made from puffed oats, unlike many other cereal bars that are made with rolled oats. Puffed oats give these cereal bars a softer texture, and don’t feel as dense as some other bars made with rolled oats. I used Rude Health Puffed Oats, but if you can’t find puffed oat cereal, you can try looking in the cereal aisle for other puffed whole grain options, such as Kashi 7 Whole Grain Puffs Cereal or Nature’s Path Organic Kamut Puffs.
With homemade cereal bars, you can control exactly what you want to put in it (meaning no weird ingredients or extra sweeteners!). For this cereal bar recipe, almond butter, dates and honey (sub with maple syrup to make it vegan) help everything stick together. Once you get that sticky mixture together, you are free to throw in whatever you would like.
I used puffed oats, almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, sour cherries and white chocolates. But as long as you keep the proportions the same, you can sub in other ingredients as you fancy. Just to give you a few ideas, I love using any of these ingredients: peanuts, walnuts, flaxseeds (linseeds), hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and goji berries. It’s very customizable, so take this recipe and make it your own!
- ¾ cup (150g) dates (I used about 7 medjool dates)
- ¼ cup (80g) honey (or sub maple syrup for a vegan option)
- ¼ cup (60g) almond butter
- 2½ cups (65g) puffed oats cereal (see notes below)
- ¼ cup (50g) almonds
- ¼ cup (50g) pecans
- ¼ cup (35g) sesame seeds
- ¼ cup (50g) sour cherries
- ¼ cup (30g) white chocolate chips (use a vegan brand for vegan option)
- Line an 8x8-inch (20x20-cm) pan with parchment paper.
- Add the dates into a food processor and run the food processor until the dates are well chopped. The dates might form a large ball in the process. If so, stop the food processor and break apart the ball to make sure there aren't any large pieces of dates remaining. Do not overheat your food processor and stop to rest it as needed.
- In a small microwave safe bowl, stir together the almond butter and honey. Microwave the mixture for 30 seconds. Remove it from the microwave and give it another quick stir. Microwave the mixture for another 10 seconds, or until the mixture is warm and runny.
- In a large bowl, add in the dates, almond butter and honey mixture, puffed oats, almonds, pecans, sesame seeds, and sour cherries (this is everything except for the white chocolate chips), and mix well. I started mixing with a spatula, but finished mixing it with my hands and fingers to make sure there were no clumps of dates. Get ready for an arm workout!
- Add in the white chocolate chips and mix again. You want to add in the white chocolate chips last to make sure they don't all melt in the mixing process. A little bit of melting is perfectly fine (and beautiful)!
- Using a small piece of parchment paper to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands, press everything evenly into the pan.
- Freeze the pan for 30 minutes. Remove from the freezer and cut into pieces.
- Store the granola bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Rude Health provided me with the puffed oats and compensated me for the ingredients used in this post.