Healthy Granola Nut Bars

You know that point in your day that usually comes around 3:00 p.m. when lunch is no longer keeping you full, and it’s way too early for dinner, and you’re starting to get drowsy? I have the cure! You have got to try these delicious Healthy Granola Nut Bars. They are packed with a variety of nuts, old fashioned oats, peanut butter, honey, seeds, coconut, and dried fruit — sweet and packed with protein to keep you full, wake you up, and make you oh so happy!

I feel so good about having my afternoon pick-me-up when it’s so healthy, and same thing with sending my husband, David, to work with the same healthy treat. I also don’t mind making them when David comes asking for them because they’re really simple to put together. While it’s true that nuts can be pretty expensive, once you buy some they’ll last a really long time if you store them in the freezer. You can also get a pre-mixed trail mix with all your favorite nuts, dried fruits, and seeds. If you can have dairy, you could also consider adding chocolate chips! There’s a variety of alterations you can make to this recipe including dried apricots, banana chips, dried cranberries, different nuts, etc. I usually do include dried cranberries in my bars, but I simply didn’t have any this week.

I like to toast my coconut flakes, oatmeal, and nuts in the oven on 350ºF for about 5-10 minutes, or until they’re fragrant and the coconut is beginning to brown on the edges.

Nut bars coconut and oatmeal

I used almonds, walnuts, pecans, and cashews that I had in my freezer from previous recipes, that I chopped up using my handy nut chopper that my Mother-in-law gave me.

nut bars roasting pan

While this mix was toasting, I got out the rest of some pre-mixed trail mix that had sunflower seeds, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), peanuts, almonds, cashews, and raisins in it.

nut bars trail mix

Once the nuts, oats, and coconut was toasted, I combined it in a large bowl with the trail mix and set it aside. Next, I combined 1/4 cup of peanut butter with 1/4 cup of honey and melted it together over medium-low heat until it was loose and liquidy. You could also use maple syrup or agave nectar in place of honey.

Just add the peanut butter/honey mixture to your nut mixture and stir it all together. Once it is thoroughly combined, work quickly (before the peanut butter and honey cool too much, making the nut mixture harder to work with) and pour it into an 8×8 baking dish lined with parchment paper and press it down, firmly, to compact it. I use more parchment on the top of the nut bars so nothing sticks to my hand. Then place the baking dish in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to set up.

After 2 hours in the fridge, take the nut mixture out of the baking dish and cut it into bars.

Nut bars

That’s it, you’re done! Now go forth and never let your mid-day 3:00 p.m. slump win again!

Healthy Granola Nut Bars

  • 1 cup dried fruit (dates, raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey (or agave nectar or maple syrup)
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned)
  • 1-2 cups chopped raw nuts and seeds (almonds, cashews, pecans, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup raw flaked coconut
  • (chocolate chips?)

Toast nuts, oats, and coconut for about 10 minutes on 350ºF, then combine with dried fruit and seeds.

Mix honey and peanut butter in a small sauce pan and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture is loose, like a liquid. Pour this over the nut/seed/fruit mixture and stir to combine.

Transfer to an 8×8 baking dish that has been lined with parchment paper. Press down firmly until bars are even and tightly compacted so they hold together well.

Place this in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes so the bars can harden, then cut into bars.


Go nuts!

Happy cooking,

Laura

 

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