No-Bake Granola Bars with Carob Drizzle2018-07-13
- Yield : 24 granola bars
- Cook Time : 35m
- Ready In : 10m
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- 8 ounces pitted dates
- Cooking spray
- 3 cups rolled oats
- 3 cups puffed rice cereal
- 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped almonds (about 8 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups mini carob chips (see Cook's Note)
- 1 1/2 cups roughly chopped dried cherries (about 8 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup toasted flaked coconut
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups creamy almond butter (about 32 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Place the dates in a medium bowl, cover with 2 cups hot water and soak for 30 minutes, until softened.
Line a 9-by-13-by-2-inch pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang on at least two sides. Lightly spray the foil with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, puffed rice cereal, almonds, 1 cup of the carob chips, dried cherries, sunflower seeds and flaked coconut. Mix until evenly combined.
Add the softened dates and their soaking water to a blender along with the cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Blend on high speed until completely smooth, 1 minute.
In a separate bowl, mix together the almond butter and 1 1/2 cups of the date syrup. (Refrigerate the extra date syrup for another use; see Cook's Note.) Add the almond butter mixture to the bowl with the oats and mix together with a rubber spatula or clean hands until evenly combined. When you squeeze the granola in your hands, it should hold together like a wet dough.
Firmly pack the granola into the prepared pan. Flatten the top by lightly spraying the bottom of a 1-cup metal measuring cup and pressing down on the granola to compact it as much as possible. There should be about 3/4 inch between the granola and the rim of the pan. Cover with foil and freeze for 2 hours.
When the granola has set, remove the foil. Melt the remaining 1/2 cup carob chips with the coconut oil in the microwave. Immediately drizzle the melted carob over the granola. Let set at room temperature or, for faster results, freeze for 5 minutes.
Once the carob has set, use the foil overhang to lift the granola from the pan. Cut the granola into 24 bars by cutting it into 3 strips on the 9-inch side (every 3 inches) and 8 strips on the 13-inch side (about every 1 1/2 inches).
Serve immediately or wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for a quick on-the-go snack.