For me, the best granola bars are lovely and dense with a great chunky texture to really get your teeth into… I also love a granola bar to be slightly moist and cakey rather than hard and crisp like a biscuit. Most of the granola bars sold in stores seem to be of the ‘hard’ variety.
A lightly sweetened, moreishly moist, healthy, fill-you-up cakey bar to grab on the run… yeah I think that pretty much sums it all up!
I have saved a number of different ‘granola bar’ style recipes from various sources across the net and I’ll be sure to try them out (with various tweaks and modifications) over the coming days and weeks. However, the recipe for today comes from an original experiment I did a few months back when I wanted to make my own date syrup to act as alternative sweetener. The bar is based on this recipe by Oh She Glows, I loved it’s description indicating a healthy yet more cakey style bar. True to form I had to go changing things round a bit and so this is my take on the concept.
This is the second time I’ve made these bars, pretty much sticking to the same ingredients each time. The bars are fairly soft inside and slightly crumbly to bite into, but I really like them that way- a great contrast to the firm exterior. Wrap them up in foil or clingfilm to hold them together and they are good to go to the office or to be popped in a handbag! These store well in an airtight container for around 1 week.
I have used homemade date syrup as the main source of sweetness and as the main sticky ingredient binding everything together. Dates naturally have a caramelly, toffee like flavour so made the perfect complement for creating a natural toffee-like granola bar.
Recipe: toffee granola bars
Makes one 8” pan. Approx. 12 bar
- ½ cup date syrup (homemade see note) or brown rice syrup- or a bit of each
- 2 tbs ground flax
- 1 ½ cups oats
- ¼ cup buckwheat flour (or other similar textured flours could be used)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup coarsely chopped nuts- I used cashews and hazlenuts
- 2 tbs coconut oil
- ¼ tsp stevia
- ¼ cup peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup cacoa nibs or dark chocolate chunks
Mix the date syup and flax together and set aside. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl (excluding cacoa/choc chunks). Add the remaining wet ingredients (coconut oil, peanut butter, vanilla) to a small microwaveable bowl and microwave on medium power for approx. 2 minutes until the coconut oil has melted. (alternatively melt in a saucepan over the hob) stir in the date/flax mix last.
Spoon wet mixture over the dry and mix well- use your hands as the mixture is quite stiff! Add cacoa nibs/chocolate chunks last, making sure mixture is cool so the chocolate doesn’t melt (if using).
Line an 8” pan with baking parchment and spoon the mixture in pressing it down as level as possible with the back of a spoon. Bake at 180C for 25-30 minutes until the surface is beginning to go golden. Allow to cool completely in the tin on a wire rack for approx. 30 minutes before attempting to slice with a very sharp knife, as otherwise the edges have a greater tendency to crumble.
Note: To make date syrup, soften dates with an equal amount of boiling water. let stand for 30 minutes or so until soft and then blitz in a blender/food procesor until smooth. you can also add a little vanilla extract if desired.