No-Bake Yummy Snack Bars

February 13, 2017

By Anna Varriano

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These bars were inspired by one of my nutrition students. She wanted to replace store-bought granola bars with a healthier option, and one night she brought her creation to class to share with all of us. The bars reminded me a bit of my No-Bake Date/Nut/Coconut/Chocolate Balls, so I started playing around with various combinations of ingredients to create my own bar and came up with the recipe I am sharing with you now. These bars freeze well, and you can make substitutions to many of the ingredients to suit your taste. Not only are they easy to make, they are also soooo delicious and loaded with healthy, nutrient-rich ingredients. These bars are a GREAT alternative to the commercial, highly-processed and sugar-loaded granola bars that are packed into so many kids’ (and adults’) lunch bags. If there is a ‘nut-free’ policy at school or work, you can use seed butters instead of nut butters.Give them a try and enjoy!

What You’ll Need:

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  • 2 cups of certified gluten-free quick oats
  • 2/3 cup of your favourite nut or seed butter (I had almond butter on hand so used that)
  • 1/2 cup of small organic dark chocolate chips (you could also substitute some or all of these with raw cacao nibs)
  • 1/4 cup of extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup or honey (I used maple syrup)
  • 1/4 cup of chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup of raw pepitas (pepitas are hulled pumpkin seeds … sunflower seeds would be good too … or a combo of both .. or any other seed you like!)
  • 1 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon of unrefined sea salt
  • a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (you can use a 9 x 9 too; however, the end product will be a lot thicker.  I’ve tried both and I prefer the thinner ones – see what you like!)
  • parchment paper or wax paper

Step 1: Mix It Up

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Add all the ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. I used a pastry cutter to start things off, and then I got in there with my hands to really make sure all the ingredients were mixed together really, really, really well!

Step 2: Pack It Down

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Line the baking pan with a piece of parchment or wax paper that is large enough to cover the bottom of the pan and also go up the sides. Transfer the mixture into the pan, and evenly distribute it. Then the fun begins … you have to pack down the mixture REALLY well! If you don’t pack it down hard enough, the bars won’t hold together very well. I started with my hands, then switched to a potato masher. Use whatever tool you think will give you the most even pressing power and go for it, getting right to the edges and into the corners. Once you’ve done a good job of packing the mixture down into the baking pan, put the pan in the freezer for 60 minutes (it can be longer than 60 minutes if you can’t wait around for 60 minutes … but don’t take it out before 60 minutes!)

Step 3: Cut Into Bars

 

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Take the pan out of the freezer and by grabbing on to the parchment or wax paper, lift the frozen slab of yummy-ness out of the pan and onto a large cutting board or surface that you can cut on. Then, using a sharp knife (preferably one that is long enough to cut through the width or length of the slab), cut the slab into whatever sized pieces you want. I got 24 pieces out of my 9 x 13 inch slab. If you are having difficulty cutting through the slab, let it unfreeze for a few minutes and/or run some hot water over the blade of the knife before each cut (making sure to dry the water from the knife before each cut).

Step 4: Enjoy Now or Later

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Place the cut bars into an air-tight container, separating the layers with parchment or wax paper. Keep them in the fridge to enjoy them over the next few weeks (if they last that long!), or freeze them and take them out whenever you want a healthy and satisfying snack!

Enjoy!

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