Peanut Butter Granola Bars (Vegan)

After leaving home for the first time to go to university, I, like many people who have to learn how to feed themselves on their own, struggled. I’d always cooked my own meals, I wasn’t completely incompetent, but in the first few weeks of university, just like a right of passage for many students, I bought so.much.junk.

Explaining to mum that I was trying to find snacks on my limited budget that weren’t bad for me, she suggested that I make my own granola bars. And, as mums do best, she sent me some home-made granola bars in the post that week, so I’d have something to eat in the meantime. Ever since, I have practised and adapted many granola bar recipes, until I hit the perfect one. Luckily for you, this is it. A recipe I have gone back to time and time again, ever since my days of being an innocent fresher, being sent food from her mum from the other side of the country.

These granola bars have been adapted from this Minimalist Baker recipe and have been tried and tested over the years. They are my absolute favourite granola bar recipes as they are salty, sticky and wholesome thanks to the oats, and they can be adapted any which way you choose. Favourite combinations include almond and apricot, but use whatever you have to spare. Swap dried fruit for seeds or even almond butter instead of peanut butter. Just make sure you keep the quantities the same, otherwise, you’ll have a hard time binding the bars together. 

Ingredients:

  • 150g rolled oats
  • 200g dates
  • 125g nuts (I used flaked almonds)
  • 100g dried fruit (such as apricots, cranberries or sultanas )
  • 200g peanut butter
  • 50g maple syrup 

Method:

  1. Line a  10×15 cm tin with clingfilm and set aside.
  2. On a large tray lined with greaseproof paper, toast the oats (this is optional) at 200oc for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Whilst the oats are toasting, pour boiling water over the dates for 5 minutes, drain and then leave to cool for 10 minutes. Once cool, rub the dates together until they all go sticky and squishy. Alternatively, put the dates in a food processor and pulse into sticky.
  4. Once the oats are toasted, pour into a bowl followed by the flaked almonds, dried fruit, & a pinch of salt and stir to combine.
  5. Next, add the sticky dates and mix with your hands, so its all distributed evenly.
  6. On a very low heat, stir the peanut butter and maple syrup together in a small saucepan until it just starts to melt together. Be careful not to overheat as it can burn quickly.
  7. Pour the melted peanut butter and honey into the bowl and mix thoroughly, coating all the ingredients.
  8. Spread evenly into the prepared tin and chill in the fridge for up to 1 hour, or until it can be cut into bars. Bars can be stored in an air-tight container. 
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