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Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I used to think that shop-bought granola bars were a nutritious snack. However, since starting my health journey and paying attention to food labels, I have realised that they are nothing more than dressed-up junk food. How can something that contains sugar, glucose syrup, sulphur dioxide, glycerol, dextrose, malted barley extract, soya lecithin, flavourings, acidity regulator and gelling agent be healthy and good for your body?

These granola bars contain natural ingredients, are really easy to make and are a perfect breakfast, on-the-go snack, post-workout energy boost or dessert. Naturally sweetened, these bars contain healthy fats from the peanut butter and lots of fibre from the oats. If you are a peanut butter addict like me – then trust me you will love these!

Make these Granola Bars part of your Sunday cook-up repertoire, to have handy during the week!

Ingredients

1 cup oats (I used gluten free oats)

⅓ cup sugar-free peanut butter

½ cup Medjool dates, pitted and finely chopped *

½ cup dried unsweetened cherries (or sultanas)

¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ cup desiccated coconut

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon maple syrup (or sub any sweetener)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 125 degrees C and line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.

Add the peanut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup to a small saucepan. Warm over medium heat until melted, stirring to combine. Remove the mixture from the heat when it is well-mixed and pourable.

Add the oats and chopped dates to a large mixing bowl and top with the peanut butter mixture.

Stir well to combine, using the spoon to mash the dates and make sure they are evenly distributed - this will help the mixture stick together.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared 8x8-inch baking dish and use a spatula to spread the mixture evenly and firmly press into the dish.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes - or until golden brown.

Let the baked mixture cool before cutting into bars.

Enjoy your healthy treat! **

* If your dates are not sticky and moist, soak them in hot water for 10 minutes and then drain them thoroughly.

** Store the granola bars in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer to keep them extra fresh.

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