For the next few weeks, I’m taking a little vacation from blogging – don’t worry, I’ll be back! – but in the meantime, some of my favorite bloggers are stepping in to take the reins while I’m away. First up is Jen from My Kitchen Addiction, who I am very fortunate to call not only a blogger friend, but a wonderful real-life friend as well. Her kitchen creations always leave me drooling, especially her gorgeous decorated cookies. Thank you Jen for guest posting today!
Hi, I’m Jen from My Kitchen Addiction. It’s great to be visiting here on Sugarcrafter today! I have been loving Tracy’s kitchen creations for years… And, I’m also lucky to call her a friend. So, as soon as Tracy asked if I wanted to share a recipe here, I jumped at the chance.
I have quite the sweet tooth, and it often gets the better of me in the afternoon. If there is a pan of brownies in the house, I have a big problem on my hands. So, to make sure that I still fit in my jeans, I’ve been focusing on making some healthier snacks. The thing is, I still need something sweet… Celery sticks and carrots are great, but they leave me still craving a brownie.
Granola bars have always been a favorite snack of mine… Especially the peanut butter and chocolate ones. But, most of the store-bought ones aren’t much better than a brownie. (Are you sensing a theme here?) I’ve stumbled on a few homemade granola bar recipes, but most of them called for a large amount of sweetener – honey, agave, maple syrup. Sure, those sweeteners are fairly natural, but I wanted to take things a step further and try to make a sweetener-free granola bar.
It took a bit of trial and error, but I eventually came up with a recipe that I was happy with. The secret? Prunes and dates. When they are blended with a bit of water, they have a nice sticky consistency that is perfect for holding together some homemade granola bars. That may not sound like a tasty afternoon treat, but when you add some peanut butter (or Sun Butter or Nutella for those of you with a peanut allergy, like Tracy!) and mini chocolate chips, you have a delicious homemade granola bar loaded with fiber and protein… And, not too much sugar. Though, to be fair, the chocolate chips and peanut butter do add some sugar to the recipe.
I’m not claiming that these are the perfect diet food, but they have satisfied my sweet tooth… And, kept me from reaching for a brownie in the afternoon!
- 1 cup dried prunes (with pits removed)
- 1 cup dates (with pits removed)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup peanut butter, Sun Butter, or Nutella
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, and set aside. In a large food processor, combine the prunes and dates. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add the water and peanut butter, and blend until well pureed. The mixture will be very sticky. Add the oats to the food processor, and pulse until well combined with the prune and date mixture. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl, and add the chocolate chips. Stir with a wooden spoon until the chocolate chips are evenly incorporated.
Spread the mixture in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars. Makes 16 – 18 bars.