Have you ever made granola bars that were so good you literally couldn’t stop eating them?
No? Well, then, it’s about time this recipe made it’s way into your life.
I love granola bars, but am usually disappointed with the ones I buy- yes, even the ones I shell out $3 or $4 dollars for at a bakery or farmer’s market. With an ingredient list that sounds like: soy protein isolate, chocolate that tastes like nothing, the world’s crustiest dried fruit, mystery sugar, and other weird stuff, it’s no wonder I’m always underwhelmed when I bite into a bar with a catchy title and the promise of eternal joy.
On the plus side, eating lots of mediocre bars has led me to deeply appreciate homemade ones- the ones that are full of freshly toasted nuts and seeds and made with ingredients that make my body feel great. Bars that are easy to make, but packed with flavor and texture. Ones that I can whip up in a few minutes and store in the fridge or freezer for weeks, just waiting for hunger to strike.
Like these ones, which are are a simple, no-bake granola bar held together with almond butter and raw honey- essentially a riff on these bars– but with the added bonus of tasting like a slice of baklava from all the toasty pistachios, sticky-sweet honey, a hint of orange, and a heavy dose of cardamom.
To make this recipe, all you need to do is toast up the oats, coconut, and pistachios in a hot skillet, then add them to a bowl with plenty of almond butter, raw honey, vanilla, salt, orange zest, cinnamon and cardamom. After a quick stir the granola mixture gets firmly pressed into a loaf pan, chilled, and cut into 8 squares.
I intentionally made this a small-batch recipe, since 8 bars is perfect for me, but if you have a big family to feed (or just want to stock up on these for the fall!) this recipe doubles or even triples extremely well. I’ve used an 8-inch square pan to double the recipe, and imagine a 13×9″ would hold a triple batch beautifully.
I’ve been making and eating these bars for two weeks straight, with no signs of quitting. I love throwing one into my purse when I know I’ll be out of the house for a few hours, or crumbling them up into a bowl of yogurt for breakfast. They also make for a super satisfying snack to take on hikes, bike rides, picnics, or wherever life is taking you these days.
And did I mention that whole tastes-like-baklava bit? Seriously, I wasn’t exaggerating. There’s something about the toasted, firmly compressed oats and coconut that mimic the crunchy, flaky texture of filo dough. Add in the pistachios, honey, orange zest and cardamom and it’s like taking a little trip to a Middle Eastern bakery every time you need a snack.
If you’re still looking for a homemade granola bar that doesn’t disappoint, be sure to add these granola bars to your to-do list, asap! Trust me, you’re going to wish you started making these years ago. I know I do. And don’t forget to check out my PANTRY STAPLES page to stock up on ingredients for this recipe!
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
- 3/4 cup oats
- 1 cup raw pistachios, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
- 1/3 cup raw honey (see note for substitution ideas)
- zest from 1/2 an orange (about 1 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1. Line a standard loaf pan with parchment paper and set it aside.
- 2. Put coconut, oats, and pistachios into a large skillet over medium heat. Cook for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until coconut and oats start to turn brown. Some white, untoasted pieces are fine, but none of the nuts/oats should be turning black. Turn off the heat and let the coconut mixture cool slightly in the pan.
- 3. While the coconut mixture cools, stir all remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Dump in toasted coconut mixture and stir well to combine. This mixture will seem too dry to form into bars, but don't worry, it will.
- 4. Pour mixture into the prepared loaf pan and press with your hands to completely flatten. Be sure to push firmly so the bars are fully compressed. Wetting your fingers helps keep the mixture from sticking to you while you press it down.
- 5. Transfer loaf pan to the fridge (at least 30 minutes) or the freezer (about 10 minutes) to allow the bars to firm up, then remove and slice into 8 squares. Store granola bars for up to 2 weeks (fridge) or 2 months (freezer). Their texture will be best when chilled, though still delicious (just a bit more crumbly) at room temperature.
- I love the flavor of raw honey in these bars, but if you need to make a substitution, I'd recommend brown rice syrup or maybe agave. I've tried this recipe with maple syrup and found it isn't thick or sticky enough to hold these together.