Soft No-Bake Chocolate Granola Bars

It’s Monday and my back is cramping in two very precise spots in the middle of my back, my shoulders are slightly sunburnt, my feet are weary from walking and a blister on the side of my foot that has been rubbing against my work shoes all morning is threatening to burst in an ugly way.

Soft No-Bake Chocolate Granola Bars // The Pancake Princess

It’s been a fantastic weekend.

First, there was the QUEEN (!!!) bed that landed in my life for free (and by landed, I mean: was wrestled from my friend’s house into a truck just inches too small and coerced into the corner of my room by virtue of an ew amount of sweat and bad words). I’m saying goodbye to the twin bed I’ve slept on for the past five years and it feels oh so luxurious.

Soft No-Bake Chocolate Granola Bars // The Pancake Princess

Then an amazing vegan Tex-Mex meal where Erik hogged the raw taco stuffed with sprouts, cabbage and mushrooms (we hate mushrooms) and I just watched in amazement (for the two seconds I wasn’t busy shoving spinach and corn tamales in my face).

Then a run to our favorite Mexican bakery where we accidentally left with an overflowing sack of way too many sugar-encrusted pastries for any reasonable couple of people.

Soft No-Bake Chocolate Granola Bars // The Pancake Princess

Then to the beach where sun, sea and sand culminated in raw pink shoulders, white cheddar popcorn overindulgence and a lazy afternoon nap before finally putting to use long-anticipated tickets to Houston’s greatest summer concert.

Psychedelic dance parties/light shows two nights in a row = no grocery shopping or serious cooking for me. My fridge is at its all-time emptiest, which made me so grateful for my stash of these no-bake granola bars made earlier in the week with the other half of date paste that hadn’t gone into these muffins.

Soft No-Bake Chocolate Granola Bars // The Pancake Princess

These granola bars have no refined or added sugar—just the pure, earthy goodness of dates. At their most basic, they’re essentially five ingredients–perfect for all you bare-fridge bloggers (i.e. none of you…) AND they taste kind of like brownies. Really grain-chewy, slightly fruity brownies. In the fridge, they condense into fudgy bars that rival my other favorite energy bars and you know that means business.

Boyfriend rating: 7/10
Erik’s comments: “These are perfect with apples. I can’t believe there’s no sugar in these! Make these again!!”

Soft No-Bake Chocolate Granola Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

These soft and chewy no-bake granola bars get their sweetness entirely from dates and a chocolate kick from antioxidant-rich cacao powder. They're great for a quick, fudgy on-the-go energy boost!

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup dates
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • ½ cup steel-cut oats*
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter (I used almond)
  • 2 tablespoons raw cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
  • ¼ cup add-ins: chocolate chips, sliced or slivered almonds, dried fruit, etc.

Instructions

To make the date paste:

Add the dates and water to a small saucepan over high heat, uncovered. Once the water begins to boil, add the baking powder and stir, lowering the heat to medium or medium-high, so that the date mixture continues to foam and bubble. Continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until date mixture is completely broken down into an approximate paste. Remove from heat and let cool.

To assemble the granola bars:

Toss together the oats, cacao powder and add-ins of your choice (I added 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons of toasted, slivered almonds). Stir in cooled date paste and nut butter until the wet ingredients are evenly distributed.

Press oat mixture into a greased baking pan or, if you're lazy, rip off a large square of plastic wrap. If you press the oat mixture into a rough rectangle and then cover in plastic wrap, you can use a heavy cutting board to flatten it out into a prettier square.

Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting into bars, for prettiest cuts. But also eat it warm if you're impatient ;)

Notes

*You can sub additional rolled oats for these. I had steel-cut on hand; I think they add a bit more gritty texture, but any type of oats should be fine.

http://www.thepancakeprincess.com/2013/06/03/soft-no-bake-chocolate-granola-bars/

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

37 thoughts on “Soft No-Bake Chocolate Granola Bars

    1. erika Post author

      Hi Allison! The yield will depend on the size you make the bars. I didn’t use a pan when I made these (just formed them using plastic wrap and my hands on a cutting board) and made about 6.

      I think a loaf pan would be a good size, or you could use the smallest square-shaped pan you have (an 8×8 would probably make the bars too thin). Hope this helps–I’d love it if you let me know how they turn out for you! :)

      Reply
  1. Whitney

    I made these last night mainly for my boyfriend to take to work, and he approves! Of course I loved them, but he’s a little harder to please. I didn’t have quite enough oats so I added a bit of almond meal. I added some chopped nuts and chocolate chips but left everything else the same. They had the perfect amount of moisture and cut into bars nicely. Nice job!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Whitney!! So glad to hear it! Adding almond meal + those other add-ins sound DELICIOUS. Thanks so much for letting me know they worked out for you :)

      Reply
  2. Lianna

    reading this post makes me miss summer so much!! I’m really digging the whole idea of using dates as a natural sweetener, I really need to get on this!

    Reply
  3. Darlene

    i wanted to ask if you might know what the calories are and the carbs thanks alot , i ask because carbs are not my friend

    Reply
  4. Roberta

    Just made these and they look fantastic!! I love the date paste ingredient – I’ve used dates before, but never broken them down with water and baking powder, what a great method! I’m sure I will be making these often, thank you!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Do you like raisins? Or apricots? Actually, most dried fruits should work fairly well. You may need to add some sweetener to taste, but I think raisins would be the closest sub. Or prunes. Let me know how it goes!

      Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Yay! Let me know how you like them :) I’m busy exploring your blog right now and it’s amazing!! Thanks for stopping by :)

      Reply
  5. The Wimpy Vegetarian

    I love dates!! Pinning these bars right now to make sure I make them. Oh, and I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve left a bakery, accidentally carrying a bag of sugary somethings, and have no regrets LOL. Really enjoyed reading your post about the weekend. It’s sounds so fun, and major congrats on the new bed. I still remember when I made the transition. I was living in Atlanta and just couldn’t wait for the store to deliver it, I was that excited. so they threw it on top of my car, tied that sucker down, and I hoped for the best when I got onto the freeway. Got it to my apartment in all one piece, but then couldn’t figure out how the hell I was going to get it off the car and into the apartment by myself. Eventually I did it, but jeez, it was crazy. LOL.

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Oh man your comment just made my day! You’re right–I have ZERO regrets about all the delicious Mexican pastries that were consumed. In fact, I’m ready for a round two… :)

      I’m so enjoying everyone’s stories about their upgrades to a new bed! Ha–that is too funny that you couldn’t wait for them to deliver it!! I love that. Serious determination to sleep in comfort! And then from Atlanta to California…I can only assume the bed didn’t go with you :)

      Reply
  6. Brandi

    These look fabulous, healthy and so simple Erika! Love the raw cacao. That’s too funny about y’all “accidentally” leaving the bakery with pastries…sounds like something I would do! I remember upgrading from a twin to a queen and then a king, oh my! Such a difference!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Haha! I have this impression you would have slightly more restraint than Erik and I did…luckily, I think your being vegan would keep you from visiting El Bolillo in the first place! I really should go vegan ;) And yes! Twin to queen has been amazing so far!!

      Reply
      1. Brandi

        Oh no girl, trust me, I have a sweet tooth like you wouldn’t believe! Seriously, my hubby and mother-n-law nicknamed me the Cookie Monster. I’ve always been addicted to sweets, I just do my best to make them as healthy as I can. I LOVE sugary pastries!!

        Reply
  7. Alex @ Brain, Body, Because

    Oh my gosh! That weekend sounds SO fun!!! Which bands did you see?? I didn’t realize that half of them are still together / touring / alive (Postal Service? Interpol [sorta]?) Also, please tell me that you caught the Octopus Project! I saw them a few years ago and it was AMAZING!!!

    Also amazing: These granola bars! It has been gross hot in Pittsburgh an no-bake anything is a win in my book.

    Also also – you had a TWIN bed?! Girl, that shit is SO SMALL! I’m glad that you have a bigger bed now :)

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Ahhh I’m so sad to say we did not see the Octopus Project :( We were kind of lame and only went for like five hours each night to catch the headliners. Doing music festivals all day long is just exHAUSTING so we didn’t catch any of the smaller bands. Poop! I’m sad we missed them!

      And girl, me too :)

      Reply
  8. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    That sounds like a fabulous weekend, girl. Now that I’m older (read: tired ‘n cranky) I don’t have too many weekends where my schedule is packed full of stuff but they’re always fun when they happen! Not so fun is the empty fridge, which is what mine is at the end of the work week. Fridays are always our take out day because there’s nothing to eat at home. I was literally standing in the grocery store last week, with a pack of dates in my hand wondering if I should buy them. I put them down and walked away and now I’m kicking myself for doing so. I’m buying some asap so that I can make these bars. I love how easy, adaptable and healthy they are (provided I don’t cram them full of chopped chocolate bars or something ridiculous like I’m wont to do). And how do you cut them into such perfect rectangles? Every time I cut bars, they’re all wonky. Last comment: congrats on the bigger bed! I went from a single bed at my parent’s house, to a queen when me ‘n Tony first moved out, and now we have a ginormous king. You’re just one step away from the biggest size – I hope you get there soon!

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Mmm, I want to implement take out Fridays! I think I need more take out pad thai and fried rice in my life. Ooh yes, please go buy some dates! They are so amazing, and you can use them in so many things! If you like the flavor, they’re seriously the best replacement for sugar. So healthy! ;)

      You always make me feel so good about myself! I thought these bars were pretty messy, but in order to maximize neatness, I shaped them into the best possible square I could, then refrigerated them so that they were cold when I cut them. That’s it! :)

      Reply
  9. christina @ smallkitchenchronicles

    Sounds like a great weekend, Erika. And enjoy that lovely new (BIG) bed of yours. I remember the day I upgraded from full to queen and it was OH SO NICE. Sleep in comfort, girl! And these bars looks delicious; quite the compliment from the boyfriend too, AND with no added sugar to boot, nice! xo

    Reply
    1. erika Post author

      Ahaha don’t worry, I am!! ;) Yes, I was quite pleased (and kind of surprised!) Erik liked these as much as he did. Thanks for stopping by, as always :)

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>