Hi hi hi from Deep Creek Lake, MD. We’re in our favorite spot for the next 2 weeks. Baby + dogs + lakefront. This is Noelle’s first vacay!!
I scheduled this no-bake chewy coconut granola bars recipe to publish today. I made 3 pans of them to stash in the freezer here at the rental house. I wish I could say there’s plenty left for my family who’s coming this week. I can’t help it; they literally taste like candy bars. But I’m the weirdo who brought all the ingredients to make another batch while we’re here.
Wait. You don’t travel with a jar of almond butter?
The good news is that they’re actually pretty wholesome, combining real foods with real flavor. The great news is that you don’t need to turn on your oven.
Besides all that, what I love most is the flavor and texture that the almond butter, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and date combo develops. The consistency and flavor both remind me of soft caramel, but there’s no butter or refined sugar. Pair that with coconut, oats, and a little dark chocolate and you’ve gotta square of heaven.
Health food? Sorta. Homemade alternative to processed foods? Absolutely. Addicting? 100%.
Will you just look at that texture!
BEHIND THE RECIPE
Each ingredient has a job:
- oats for texture
- coconut for texture/flavor
- coconut oil to bind
- dates to sweeten + bind
- honey to sweeten + bind
- almonds for texture/flavor
- almond meal to bind
Plus a little salt and vanilla extract for flavor and finely chopped dark chocolate or mini chocolate chips. I know what you’re thinking… coconut, almond, and chocolate? ALMOND JOY BARS!! Told ya these taste like candy.
If you want to lighten them up, leave out the chocolate; promise they’re still awesome without it. But if you want a little extra something special, don’t skip it.
First thing we’re going to do is puree or finely chop some dates. We’ll mix them with almond butter, coconut oil, and honey on the stove. We want the 4 ingredients warmed and combined. It’ll be a little lumpy from the dates, but that’s ok. Do your best to stir everything together. These warm wet ingredients, plus the powdery almond meal, bind the granola bars together– this allows us to skip the baking.
It’s smooth sailing from here on out. Mix in the dry ingredients– I do this right in the saucepan. Taste the mixture. And try to stop. Dare ya.
Press the granola bar mixture firmly into a square baking pan. The secret is to really pack the mixture in there. The more compact, the more the bars will hold their shape. Let the bars set up in the refrigerator or freezer. I recommend the freezer to save time. Trust me, you’ll want to taste them ASAP.
Cut ’em into tiny bars or, let’s get serious, 9 giant squares. They hardly take any time and effort and the pan lasts approximately 60 seconds. Time for batch #4!!!
More healthy-ish bars! vanilla almond snack bars | chocolate peanut butter snack bars | berry cashew snack bars | chocolate cherry almond snack bars | cashew coconut snack bars | spiced pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars | quinoa crunch snack bars | blueberry almond snack bars | soft oatmeal raisin cookie granola bars
- 5 Medjool dates, pitted
- 1/3 cup (80g) honey (or brown rice syrup)
- 1/3 cup (85g) almond butter (or any nut butter)
- 2 Tablespoons coconut oil (or unsalted butter; you need a fat that’s solid at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 and 1/2 cups (120g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
- 1 cup (80g) unsweetened shredded coconut (plus extra for topping, if desired)
- 3/4 cup (65g) slivered/sliced almonds
- 2 Tablespoons almond meal/almond flour (or oat flour)
- optional: 1/3 cup (60g) finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate or mini chocolate chips
- Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
- Pulse the dates in a food processor until they form a chunky paste. (You’ll have about 3 Tablespoons paste.) Or, if you don’t have a food processor, very finely chop the dates.
- Whisk the date paste/chopped dates, honey, almond butter, and coconut oil together in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Try to break up the dates as much as you can. Once combined and warm, remove from heat. Stir in the vanilla extract and salt until combined.
- Stir in the remaining ingredients including the chocolate, if using.
- Press mixture into prepared baking pan and top with extra coconut, if desired. Pack the mixture down as much as you can. I recommend using the back of a flat spatula to really press it tightly.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or freeze for 30 minutes before cutting into squares.
- Store leftover granola bars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. They get a little sticky if left out for several hours.
Make ahead tip: These granola bars are freezer friendly. I LOVE them right out of the freezer! Wrap each individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper and freeze for up to 3 months.
- Feel free to make any substitutions, keeping in mind that the texture and flavor will change. The bars were a little more crumbly without the chocolate. The warm mixture melts the chocolate, which really helps the bars hold their shape.
- I’m unsure of the nutritional stats, but feel free to calculate it!
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SHOP THE RECIPE
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