Sundays with Samantha: Coconut & Almond Bars

These amazingly delicious bars are a cross between a granola bar and dessert.  I wanted to create a kid-friendly snack or mid-afternoon treat as an alternative to packaged granola bars or cookies.  These bars would be great as a pre-sports-practice-snack, play date treat or dessert with friends.  They’re loaded with good-for-you ingredients like oats, nuts, and dried fruit and because no treat is complete without chocolate, I added some cocoa powder to give it a chocolatey kick. They’re sweetened with raw honey (and dates) instead of sugar or corn syrup, which keeps them almost completely unprocessed.

Try them out and let me know what you think!  I think you’ll love them as much as we do ;).

Almond & Coconut Oat Bars

Makes about 16

Ingredients:

2 cups old-fashioned oats (not quick-cooking)

¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup sliced almonds

1/3 cup raw honey

1/3 cup almond butter

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (plus a smidge for greasing baking pan)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

20 dried pitted dates

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease an 8” x 12” baking dish.

Combine oats, coconut and almonds on a sheet pan.  Mix.  Roast for 8-10 minutes, tossing halfway through.  Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, put honey, almond butter, butter, coconut oil, salt, and vanilla extract in a small sauce pot over medium-low heat.  When butter melts, mix and simmer an additional 30 seconds.  Remove from heat and pour into the large bowl with the oat mixture.

In a small blender or food processor (I use my Nutribullet), add the dates and cocoa powder.  Process until dates form a cohesive sticky ball.  Add the dates to the large bowl.

With a spatula, mix everything together.  Firmly press the dates into the mixture so they become evenly distributed and final mixture is sticky.  Transfer to prepared baking dish, gently pressing into an even layer.

Freeze for 30 minutes.  Slice and serve.  Store remaining bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Serving size: (1 bar)  Calories: 290  Total Fat: 13 g  Saturated Fat: 5 g  Cholesterol: 2 mg  Sodium: 40 mg  Carbohydrates: 45 g  Dietary Fiber: 6 g  Sugars: 31 g  Added Sugar: 6 g  Protein: 5 g

Note: If you are feeling extra generous, drizzle them with dark chocolate.  Uh huh. It’s good.

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