Hello! I guess I took a bit of a break from the blog last week. 🙂 I was in Austin, Texas, for a conference… and definitely ate, ran, and walked my way through the town in my spare time! Anyway, now I am back in Florida and getting back into the swing of things, including blogging recipes. 🙂
Since I was traveling last week, I made sure to pack some of my new favorite granola bars — these 3 ingredient granola bars, to be specific. I know what you’re thinking — how the heck did I manage to get a thick, chewy granola bar with only three ingredients?!
The answer: Dates. Well, date paste, to be specific. By soaking the dates in water, you are able to soften them so much that mixed in a food processor, they turn into a thick, (naturally!) sweet paste which holds the bars together fabulously.
I’m going to walk you through the steps to make these. It’s not difficult, but a bit more involved than some of my usual recipes. And I’m determined to get my sister to make these, and promised her I’d show her the play-by-play here on the blog since she lives a good twenty hours from me. 🙂
Start by placing your dates in a plastic container (one with a lid, preferably).
Next, fill the container with water so that the water covers all of the dates. Put a lid on the container, and let the dates soak in the water for 4 to 8 hours. The longer you soak, the mushier the dates will get, and the easier they will turn into a paste.
After soaking the dates, you’ll want to drain the water. But before doing that, reserve about 4 tablespoons of the water. You’ll want that to make the paste. OK. Now pour the the dates into a colander in the sink (shout out to mom — thanks for my Easter basket/colander!).
Once you’ve drained the water (give ’em a good shake to get rid of excess water), place the dates into a blender or food processor. I used a blender this time around, but I’ve also done this with a food processor (I actually like the food processor better for this, FYI).
Puree or pulse the dates until a paste forms (if you’re having difficulty pureeing, add your reserved water, a tablespoon at a time). Don’t worry if you still have a few small pieces of date here and there. Your finished product should look something like this:
Mmm, date paste! 😉 In all seriousness, this stuff is actually great as a natural sweetener. Anyway… Stir in your peanut butter…. And then your oats…
Mix until it’s all combined.
At this point you could add a few extra mix-ins, but then of course you’d have yourself a 3+ ingredient granola bar. 🙂
Line a large loaf pan (mine is 10×5) with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. You want enough wrap/foil so that it extends up the sides of the pan. Spread the mixture into the pan…
Wrap it up… and chill. Place the granola bars in refrigerator to set. I wait at least 2 hours before I cut them.
Once chilled, cut into bars,
Package them up,
And enjoy! Sure, it’s no Kudos bar, but in my opinion, there’s something nice about enjoying a natural, unbaked granola bar with just three ingredients!
[print_this]3 Ingredient Granola Bars
Simple, wholesome granola bars made with just three ingredients: dates, peanut butter, and oats. If you’d like, try different nut butters to vary the flavor of the bars slightly.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: n/a
Soaking+chilling time: 6 hours
- 2 cups pitted dates
- 1/3 cup peanut butter
- 2 1/2 cups oats (rolled or quick cooking; I use a combination)
Place the dates in bowl. Cover with water (enough water so that the dates are submerged). Soak the dates at least 5 hours, or overnight.
Drain the soaked dates, reserving one tablespoon of water. Place the dates and one tablespoon reserved water in the bowl of a food processor (or a blender). Chop until mostly smooth (a few pieces of dates may remain; that is fine). Add the peanut butter and blend until smooth. Stir in the oats.*
Line a large loaf pan (I used a 10×5 inch pan) with plastic wrap or aluminum foil. Press the mixture into the pan, then cover with additional foil or plastic wrap, pressing to seal. Refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or until firm. Slice the bars into desired size (I sliced mine into 10 1-inch wide bars).
*If you are using a food processor, you can add the oats to the bowl of the food processor to chop the oats into smaller pieces. Or, if you want to keep the oats whole, simply transfer the date-peanut butter mixture to a bowl, and then stir in the oats.[/print_this]