Are there better snack options than no-bake snacks? I have such a weakness for a good muffin, but all too often I just want to whip up a quick, nutritious, tasty, and portable snack so we can head out the door to run, hike, and opt outside all weekend long.
I first made Cookie and Kate’s version of these no bake granola bars a few weeks back when Ryan and I were embarking on longer hikes including Mount Washington and Greider Lakes. As happens with many recipes, I adapted the recipe from the start due to Ryan’s mild almond allergy. Now they’re a completely different bar, so I thought I’d share my recipe with you today!
Bars make an ideal post run or hiking snack, except that pre-packaged all-natural bars can quickly add up in price. Thankfully, no bake granola bars are incredibly simple to make at home, as this recipe takes less than 10 minutes of prep time and your refrigerator does the rest of the work. Plus, when you make them at home, you can customize the bars to your exact preferences.
What’s in these no bake granola bars? The ingredient list is flavorful and simple: rolled oats, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate chunks, raisins, vanilla extract, honey, molasses, and peanut butter. You can opt for an even more concise list of ingredients, of course, but this is a winning combination (see also: the trail mix cookies I shared a few weeks ago).
The blackstrap molasses emerges as the defining ingredient in these no bake granola bars. It adds a subtle and earthy sweetness without an overly saccharine taste, similar to how a good dark chocolate or coffee tastes. These bars almost remind me of puppy chow (Muddy Buddies) from high school and college bake sales – minus the powdered sugar and with a good boost of nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, and iron instead.
Since these bars can become mushy and stick together when warmed up in a backpack or car, I highly recommend storing them in your freezer. They will defrost by the time you eat them but better maintain their bar structure. Of course, they taste just as great in the form of bites as well!
Since no bake granola bars are easy to prepare in large batches, freezing them will also make a batch last longer – not that you need to worry about that. Any issue here is one of portion control, especially if you enjoy a salty-sweet combination.
These molasses and pumpkin seed no bake granola bars are vegetarian, gluten free, and dairy free.
- 2 cups rolled oats
- Heaping ½ cup pumpkin seeds
- 5 tablespoons dark chocolate chunks, raisins, or a combination of both
- ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 cup natural creamy peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons blackstrap molasses
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate chips and/or raisins, and salt.
- In a smaller separate bowl, whisk together the honey, vanilla extract, molasses, and peanut butter. If this mixture is too stiff, microwave for a couple seconds and then stir, but be sure to let cool before adding to the dry ingredients so you don’t melt the chocolate.
- Use a large rubber spatula or wooden spoon to fold together the peanut butter mixture and the dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. The mixture should be stiff and thick; if too viscous, add a tablespoon or two more oats.
- Line a large glass baking pan* with parchment paper. Use the spatula or wooden spoon to spread and press the mixture in the pan until the bars are at your desired thickness.
- Cover with the lid or plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours. Cut into 12 pieces and then store in the fridge for up to a week or the freezer for a few months.
- Cooking time indicates refrigeration/setting time.
- *I used a 15 x 10 in. Pyrex pan and the bars did not quite span the length of the pan. This yielded thin and long granola bars You can also use a 9 x 9 in pan for thicker, squared shaped bars.
Linking up with Foodie Friday!
What was your favorite bake sale treat in college or high school?
What are your plans for the holiday weekend?