Raw Granola Bars
I really enjoy having granola bars on hand because they are, in many ways, the perfect snack food. They are packed full of nutrients and an important source of carbohydrates to boost your energy reserves. Unfortunately, many store-bought granola bars are filled with fats and other mysterious ingredients to promote long shelf lives, and I’m just not willing to ingest these ingredients.
So, I make my own – and they are surprisingly simple to make!
I came across this original recipe from my friend Dawn, co-founder and content guru at Rouxbe Online Cooking School. The recipe itself is quite simple to prepare and it uses only natural and healthy ingredients. You can also make the entire recipe gluten-free if that is important to you by making sure you use certified gluten-free oats.
The base of these granola bars are dates, and here it is important to get off to a good start. Always make sure your dates do not have any pits in them before beginning. Be sure to soak the dates in warm water until they soften – usually no more than an hour, unless of course, your dates are already quite soft. Process the dates quite well in a food processor until they begin to ball up. I don’t like using a high speed blender for this task because I think the dates become too soft and mushy. They should have a bit of texture, but also completely processed.
Once the dates are complete, it is really only a matter of combining the remaining ingredients…and here there is a great deal of flexibility. For instance, try using cashew butter instead of almond butter for a lighter version. Add some raisins to the mix as well. For a crunchier version, try adding a handful of GM-free soy flakes. Dried ginger gives the bars a bit of punch…and cinnamon is an excellent addition, especially if you are adding some chopped dried apples.
You can enjoy the granola bars right away, but I prefer dehydrating them a bit to give the outside a nice sheen and slightly different texture. I dehydrated them for 12 hours at 48° C. Alternatively, you can also bake them in a 140° C oven for 10-15 minutes, but this would destroy the raw properties.
I used a rectangle pan measuring 14-cm X 28-cm, and portioned my individual bars to 3-cm X 8-cm. I was able to enjoy 16 perfect bars…and a few bits I happily snacked on immediately.
Raw Granola Bars
makes about 16 to 24 pieces
200 gr. pitted dates
50 gr. maple syrup (or agave syrup)
60 gr. cashew butter
50 gr. almonds, roughly chopped
150 gr. rolled oats
50 gr. dried cranberries or raisins
50 gr. dried figs, chopped
½ tsp sea salt
Process the dates in a food processor until it has a dough-like consistency.
Place the dates, liquid sweetener, almond butter and rolled oats in a large bowl. Mix well to combine the ingredients.
Add the remaining ingredients and mix again to combine. Line a 20 X 20-cm baking tray or dish with parchment paper or plastic wrap.
Place the mixture into the prepared dish and press down firmly to even out.
This task may be made a bit easier if you wet your hands slightly beforehand.
Cover the pan with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for an hour or so to harden (alternatively, place the contents in the freezer for 15 minutes if you are in a hurry to taste them).
Once the granola bars are quite firm to the touch, remove them from the baking dish and cut into serving sized portions.
Store in an airtight container or wrap individually and store in the freezer.