I’ve been a traveling machine lately.
Every few weekends there has been a trip on my schedule. Either I’m gone or my fiancé is, and occasionally we both get to go somewhere together (but I’m not telling you when that happens…I watch Dateline! I know that creepers wait for that kind of thing then rob your empty home…joke would be on them when they stumble into my literally empty apartment! Muahahaha… wait, just don’t steal my mixer!).
With all of this travel, I’ve become a master at packing meals and emergency snacks. I always bring my own, because I’d rather be prepared than find myself in a bind, hungry, and surrounded by junk. Also, I like to send my fiancé on his trips with my healthy snacks, because I want to know that he’ll reach for those first instead of hitting the drive-throughs.
Homemade granola bars are an awesome, easy-to-pack snack. They travel well and provide good, clean energy. Mine are gluten-free and vegan. I love that when you make your granola bars, they truly are only the ingredients you choose to put in them. No surprises.
I used my new favorite coconut-based finds (above), but you can use your favorite ingredients in yours!
Peanut Butter Granola Bars (no-bake)
(makes 12 granola bars)
2 ½ cups old fashioned oats
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 Tbs. coconut butter (or unsalted butter)
2 Tbs. coconut peanut butter (or creamy natural peanut butter)
2 Tbs. brown sugar
¼ cup agave nectar (or honey)
1/3 cup chopped dried banana* (Trader Joe’s Bananas Flattened, approximately 3 bananas)
¼ cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
optional: peanut butter chips, to decorate with
*You can use dried banana chips or freeze dried bananas, but they will have a different texture. The Bananas Flattened have the texture of “fruit leather.”
~Line an 8×8” baking pan with parchment, overhanging. Set aside.
~Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. Combine the oats and coconut and pour onto the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake 8-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the oats become fragrant and the coconut starts to become golden. Pour the toasted oats and coconut into your mixing bowl.
~To the oats and coconut, add the chopped dried banana and peanuts.
~In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine the butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, and agave. Let it come to an easy boil and stir until the brown sugar is dissolved. Take off the heat and pour over the oat mixture.
~Stir all of the ingredients until completely combined. Pour the mixture into your lined 8×8” baking pan. Press down firmly to compress the bars in an even layer (I like to place a layer of plastic wrap over the top of the bars and press down as hard as I can to compress the bars).
~If you’re going to decorate the bars with the peanut butter chips, scatter a few over the top of the granola bar pan and then press down again so they stick into the bars.
~Let cool completely (about 2 hours in the fridge) before lifting the bars out by the parchment and cutting into 12 bars (one cut down the middle, then turn and cut in 6 even segments). Wrap the bars individually with plastic wrap to store or take for snacks! Enjoy!