Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars

Like many people, the week leading up to the new year really gets me thinking about my new year’s resolution(s). In the past I’ve made some resolutions that have stuck, and I’ve made others that haven’t. Back in high school I gave up pop (aka soda), and a few years ago I vowed to give up artificial sweeteners; I’m proud to say, both of these resolutions are still in effect today. As I look to the year ahead, I’m thinking my new year’s resolutions are going to be to drink more water and to (try to) reduce processed foods. The latter one is tough, since occassionally processed foods are needed for convenience purposes, not to mention, sometimes they taste good!

One way I already try to reduce my processed food in take is by making one of my favorite, go-to snacks, rather than buying it packaged. I love granola bars because they’re filling, satisfying, easy to grab on the go, and they’re something I can give to my son. There are so many recipes for granola bars, but when I discovered this simple version of Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars, I knew it was a winner. With sweet dates, oatmeal, almonds, almond butter and chocolate chips, this recipe is sure to please almost any palate. Since making this recipe several times, I’ve switched out the almond butter for peanut butter, and I’ve also tried dried blueberries instead of chocolate chips. In addition to changing the nut butters, I’ve also used almond slivers instead of whole almonds when I’m giving this to my son. The best part is that these granola bars can be stored in the freezer for prolonged freshness, and they thaw in only about 15 minutes on the counter!

Before I share the recipe, I wanted to tell you about a great program and special offer that I’ve learned about through my partnership with Cooking Light Magazine. Although I don’t know the exact stats, I’d guess that the majority of people making resolutions focus on health or weight loss, so telling you about the Cooking Light Diet comes at a good time! The CLD is calorie-driven weekly meal plan for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Through the plan, you’ll receive a meal plan, that is easily customizable, sent to your inbox. You’ll receive sample menus, and if you don’t like something on the menu, easily swap it out by scrolling through the many alternatives that fit within the calorie allotment. If you’re interested in signing up for the Cooking Light Diet, visit CookingLightDiet.com and use coupon code DIETSAVE20 to save 20%.

I wish you all luck with your resolutions and a very happy New Year!

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Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Granola Bars

Adapted from the Minimalist Baker

What You Need

  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted
  • 1/4 cup honey (sub maple syrup or agave if needed)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter or unsweetened peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup raw nuts (almonds, almond slivers or pecans)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips or dried blueberries (or any other dried fruit)

What To Do

  1. Place dates in a food processor and mix until small bits remain and they form a ball. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add oats, nuts, and chocolate chips. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking down the dates so they disperse fairly evenly throughout the ingredients. Small chunks are OK.
  2. Warm honey and almond butter in a microwave safe dish, (being careful not to heat too long), pour over dry ingredients. Stir quickly to evenly coat. The chocolate chips will get a little melty, which is great.
  3. Transfer to a shallow pan (such as 8×8 or loaf pan) lined with parchment or plastic wrap and top with another piece of plastic wrap and use your hands to form the mixture into a tight square (keeping in mind you want them about 1/2 thick and you’ll cut them into 10-12 bars) with a uniformly flat top.
  4. Still covered, pop them into the freezer to set for 15 minutes. Remove and cut into 10-12 bars. Store in an airtight container or bag in the fridge to keep fresh, or in the freezer for longer term storage.
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