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recipe

Easy Breezy Oat Squares

A quick snack that the whole family can enjoy.

My g0-to fast snack option for the family. Takes less than 15 mins.

Snack bars are my achilles heel. Last month, I counted more than 6 varying types and brands of snack bars bursting through my pantry shelves. Granola, nut, protein, chia seed, wholegrain, and buckwheat bars, just to name a few. My husband Daryl has since banned me from adding to my impressive stash. I am trying to reign my obsession in. I would argue that snack bars are an essential. Fellow mothers reading this, I’m sure you’d nod in unison to all the reasons why snack bars are a must-have (especially with our on-going Covid-19 pandemic)!

  • You can multi-task even if inundated with back-to-back-to-back work conference calls; no time for lunch, no problem, a bar, 3 bites and all the energy to keep going
  • Keeps for longer, which means lesser grocery runs
  • Nutritious! Well most are, depends which ones you get. I like oat-based, wholegrain ones.
  • Great for when I feel peckish and trying not to open that bag of crisps.

But I’m not here to sell you snack bars or fawn all over them. I wanted to share a really great snack bar recipe I found and have been adapting every time I make it. Since I gobble that much snack bars, I might as well make my own and put in all the good stuff.

Pre-sliced oat bar in pan
No-bake oat snack bars, prior to slicing.

These bars are a cinch to make because they do not require you to bake and only involves 5 ingredients (excluding the fixings you decide to add).

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 heaping cup packed pitted dates (medjool/deglet noor)*
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (or agave nectar or honey) 
  • 2 tbsp barley malt syrup*
  • 1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter (or any nut butter really)
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, coarse chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats, toasted (I like to use Bob Red Mill’s Extra Thick Rolled Oats)
  • Cocoa nibs, raisins, cranberries, vanilla, or any other dried fruit etc would make great add-ins.

Method

  1. Process pitted dates in a food processor or blender (I use the latter and it works fine) for about 1-2 mins until it forms a sticky dough-like consistency.
  2.  If your almonds aren’t pre-roasted, toast them at 150°C for 10 mins
  3. Optional: Toast your rolled oats at 180°C for 10-12 mins (it should be a nice toasty golden brown)
  4. Combine rolled oats, almonds and date mixture in a bowl and set aside
  5.  Combine your syrups and peanut butter and warm them up in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over the oat mixture. 
  6. Use a sturdy spatula to mix thoroughly, until combined. Place in an 8×8-inch baking dish or a small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily.
  7. Press down firmly until uniformly flattened.  Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let firm up in the freezer for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Remove bars from pan and chop into however many bars or squares you want, to size. I prefer small bite-size 1.5 inch squares.
  9. Store them in the freezer so they last longer.

Notes:
*Barley malt syrup is something I just discovered. It is easily available on iHerb and is an unrefined liquid sweetener made from soaked and sprouted barley. Its consistency is similar to molasses and golden syrup. I find that it helps bind these snacks better and I really like the flavour.
 

Tasty morsels filled with oat-goodness.

As a chocolate fiend, I had to resist throwing in chocolate chips into these bars. I wanted it to be healthy so cocoa nibs was a good alternative. It was a double-win actually – bittersweet meets natural gooey sweetness. Utter bliss and without (that much) guilt. I much prefer these bars now, and have indeed been buying less commercial made ones.

My son Ciaran is a huge fan of these snack bars.

Simple and (slightly) effortless, that’s everything you need to know about these bars. Blend, chop, mix, freeze and slice. I usually make them at night so they are nice and sturdy by the next day for my (and my son’s) enjoyment and due sustenance.

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