Why do I make my own granola bars? Have you seen the price of organic snack bars? Have you read the ingredients? Not only are homemade bars cost efficient, but I know what the ingredients are, and I can choose what I put in them. You know, like custom made. Most snack bars’ first ingredient is brown rice syrup or some type of sweetener. I use local honey for a sweetener, and many of the ingredients are naturally sweet. If I make them myself, I know for a fact that there are no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives, as well as gluten-free. I can make them how I want them. I’ve also tasted a few different snack bars that have all healthy ingredients, but they were just downright disgusting. So, another bonus is that these taste great!
Why balls? To me, they’re much easier than bars and hold together better. I attempted to make bars, and my Tupperware bar maker couldn’t hold up to these. I store them in the fridge, and for travel, I can just throw a few of them into a plastic bag or storage container (BPA free, that is). In hotter temperatures, I literally tote around a small lunchbox with a freezer pack to keep them from melting in the car. Hey, a mom’s gotta do what she’s gotta do!
I start with gluten-free quick-cooking rolled oats. I’ve used old-fashioned rolled oats before, but I rather the consistency of the instant ones.
The quickest way I’ve found to mix this together is to add the ingredients from driest to wettest and stickiest, to avoid having to clean out the blender every time I blend something. After crushing 1 1/2 cups of cashews in the blender, I add the cashews, 2 cups oatmeal, 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, and 1 TBsp chia seed to a large bowl.
Next, I make a quick almond butter with 1 1/2 cup of almonds and 3 TBsp of virgin coconut oil, blending until creamy. I try to make as much from scratch as I can, but you are welcome to buy store-bought almond butter. Store-bought may be a little thicker.
Pour on top of the oatmeal mixture in the large bowl, and get ready to blend the dates.
The dates are used as a glue and a sweetener. I find them packaged in the produce section of Rouse’s and in the loose nuts and dried fruits section of Whole Foods. The first time I pitted the dates myself, I didn’t know what I was doing, but it turned out to be very quick and simple. Just slice them open and the seed comes right out.
Place 12 dates and about 1 TBsp of coconut oil into the food processor or blender (in my case, my Ninja), and blend until it is completely broken down as shown below…
Add the blended dates to the oatmeal mixture, along with 1 TBsp of honey, and stir together. This is when I add 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, avoiding them til the end so that they don’t risk melting while mixing. This is also when you can add extra seeds, such as pumpkin or sunflower, to give it an extra little seedy boost. I had to leave out the pumpkin seeds during the last making, since we discovered that one of my littles is allergic.
Now it’s time to get your hands messy!
TIP: I coat my hands with coconut oil to keep the mixture from sticking to my hands too much. Then I sprinkle arrowroot powder, tapioca starch, or non-gmo corn starch onto the balls to keep them from sticking together in storage.
The mixture may seem loose at first, but once you pack it together to form balls, it will glue together nicely.
These are perfect to take along to baseball games for a healthy athlete snack in-between games, for traveling, or a quick to-go breakfast! Customize any way you like!
One time, I took a few of these to my hair stylist when I made a same-day appointment for my kids right around lunch time, thinking that she may be pretty hungry without a lunch break yet. She loved them and said I could bring her some anytime!
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