I really loved Almond Joys growing up (and of course I will not be eating those now) so I wanted to come up with a granola bar that would be reminiscent of that. Oh my gosh, I think I did it! The whole family really loved these and I swear you will think you are eating something unhealthy they are so good. These are even yummier the next day and they are a very moist, cake-like granola bar. Recipes and photos contributed by Jennifer Strohmeyer of Virtually Vegan Mama.
Makes: 12 Bars (I used a 3 inch metal heart cookie cutter which made 12 granola hearts)
- 3 dates, pitted and chopped
- ¼ cup almond butter
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ½ to 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
(I used 1 cup and it made a very moist, chewy bar)
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
(depending on how chocolatey you want these)
- 1 ½ teaspoons almond extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons 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 the 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.
- Explore more of VegKitchen’s Vegan Cookies and Bars.