Gluten-free baked granola bars that are super crunchy, naturally sweetened, and packed with fiber and protein!
1 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup raw slivered almonds (or sub sunflower seeds)
1/4 cup flaxseed meal
2/3 cup unsweetened small flake coconut
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 cup chopped dates (~ 5 dates)
2 Tbsp almond butter (or another nut or seed butter)
2 Tbsp melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
FOR TOPPING optional
1/2 cup chopped vegan dark chocolate
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp sea salt or hemp seeds
Preheat oven to 350F and arrange oats and almonds on a bare baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly toasted. They should not be browned, just slightly toasted for more flavor. Reduce oven heat to 325F.
In the meantime, add flaxseed meal, desiccated coconut, and sea salt to a large mixing bowl and stir. Set aside.
Once oats and almonds are toasted, add to the mixing bowl along with chopped dates. Loosely stir to combine and set aside.
Add almond butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Then remove from heat and immediately add to the oats.
Use a mixing spoon (or your hands) to mix thoroughly, ensuring that the dates and the almond butter mixture are evenly dispersed and coating all of the dry ingredients.
Add the mixture to a parchment-lined 8x8-inch baking pan and spread into an even layer. Then top with another layer of parchment paper and press down with something flat - such as a measuring cup - to press into an even, uniform layer.
Bake at 325F for 20-25 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan. Transfer to the freezer to speed cooling time.
Once cooled, lift out of the pan and slice into desired number of bars. I went with 6 bars.
Optional: Melt dark chocolate and coconut oil in a small pot. Spoon a small amount over the bars in a drizzle pattern or cover half of the bar with chocolate. Top with sea salt or hemp seeds.
Once bars have dried/cooled, store covered at room temperature for 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.