Okay, so I could have made some sugar-filled cookies dipped in chocolate to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, but I didn’t. This plant-strong family needed a healthier version. I was now on a mission to come up with a recipe that would make my family happy and not miss those cookies. We love granola bars around here and making the home-made one’s are so easy to do. If you have kids, granola bars are a great kid-friendly recipe for them to help make – it’s fun and easy. Most any combination of ingredients will be yummy and so much better than the store-bought ones. Believe me, once you make your own you will never buy store-bought again.
- 3 dates, pitted and chopped
- ¼ cup almond butter
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ -1 cup unsweetened almond milk (I used 1 cup and it made a very moist, chewy bar)
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 1-2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (depending on how chocolatey you want these)
- 1 ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup almonds, chopped
- 2 cups old fashioned oats (not instant)
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ cup mixed raisins and cranberries (you can use any combination of dried fruit you would like here)
- Cover dates in water and soak for at least 1 hour, up to 4 hours.
- Drain dates and combine them with almond butter, applesauce, almond milk, cinnamon, cocoa powder, almond and vanilla extract in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer mixture to small saucepan and heat on low for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F.
- Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
- In a medium mixing bowl mix; almonds, oats, coconut, raisins and cranberries. Fold in the almond butter mixture. Place cookie cutter on parchment lined baking sheet and spoon batter into cookie cutter filling halfway. Press down firmly with your fingers. Gently lift the cookie cutter away from the granola and press down around inside edges to help keep its shape. Reform granola hearts with your fingers if necessary and repeat.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely before eating. These can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.
Welcome to Virtually Vegan Mama! My name is Jennifer and I am a super busy stay at home mama of three and wife to a loving husband. I'm here to create simple, healthy, plant-based meals to serve my whole family. This is our growing family cookbook and we are sharing it with you.