A few years ago I accidentally landed on these delicious granola bars. I was trying to make those energy bites but something went wrong, but oh so right. The mixture wasn't allowing me to form bite sized balls. I soon become frustrated and put the mixture into the freezer to try and firm them up. Once they were firm I cut a piece off to try and roll them into a ball, but first took a bit. I immediately fell in love with the taste and texture. Cut them up into bar shapes and my "candy" bars were born. I called them candy bars because they honestly taste so sweet and salty like good candy bar should. But these bars are packed with hearty things like oats and almonds. You get some good protein in with the peanut butter. I also put in two super foods, chia and cacao powder which give the bars a boost in antioxidants and omega-3s.
I made these quite often and when I share them on my Instagram so many of you ask for the recipe. I posted the original recipe a few years back here, but below I switched some things up for the better! I also doubled the recipe so it makes more bars (per a friends request ;)
A few of you have made the original bars I posted a while ago and added chocolate chips to the top and some other things. I give some substitute ideas in the recipe card below, please feel free to get creative with them! Enjoy Friends!
Photos By Lily Ro Photography
THOSE "CANDY" BARS
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
Servings: 12-14 bars
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey
1 cup smooth natural peanut butter
1 cup unsalted sliced almonds
2 cups gluten free oats
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seed
1 tablespoon cacao powder (*Not cocoa powder) You can google the difference here, but what it comes down to is the way the beans are processed. Cacao is considered a "superfood" because it is minimally processed therefore keeping its benefits intact. IT offers a subtle chocolate flavor but more so it gives the bars some added nutrients.
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
2 hearty pinches of sea salt
You'll also need a standard baking dish 9in x 13in and some parchment paper to line it with.
Feel free to use any nut butter you'd like so long as it is smooth; almond, cashew etc. Our favorite though is natural peanut butter. You can also substitute the sliced almonds for unsweetened coconut flakes, unsalted pecans or any other crunchy ingredient so long as it is unsweetened and unsalted. If you substitute the dried cranberries try going for another tart dried fruit like cherries. I'd skip any sweet dried fruit like raisins since the base of these bars are pretty sweet to begin with. Lastly, you can substitute the raw honey for maple syrup or agave. Just know that your bars will have a different consistency than what is shown.
First line a 9in x 13in baking dish with parchment paper. Also, clear a spot in your refrigerator large enough for the baking dish. Once the bars are finished and in the baking dish, they will need to firm up in the refrigerator.
In a small sauce pan over medium low heat, stir together the; coconut oil, raw honey and peanut butter. Stir these until smooth.
Add the cacao powder and vanilla. Stir until smooth and the cacao powder is fully incorporated.
Now turn off the heat. Add in your chia seeds and sliced almonds. Stir until everything is evenly coated.
Next, stir in your oats one cup at a time. Again, be sure to stir until everything is evenly coated.
Last, stir in your dried cranberries.
Pour your mixture into the dish lined with parchment paper. Smooth the mixture out until it is in an even layer.
Add your two hearty pinches of sea salt over the top of the bars. Be sure to evenly disperse the salt so you can taste it with every bit. The bars are more on the sweet side with the honey, vanilla and peanut butter. The bit of salt on top really makes a difference and cuts through the sweetness a bit. Its honestly my favorite part when enjoying the bars.
Now, store your bars in the refrigerator for up to an hour or until fully firm. I sometimes let the bars firm up in the freezer if we want to enjoy them quicker.
Once the bars are firm, cut them into small rectangles. Store the bars in an air tight container in the refrigerator. Since the base of these bars is coconut oil they don't do well in the heat or travel that well. They are best cold. We love having them on hand for a quick breakfast, afternoon snack or to satisfy a late night sweet tooth craving.