Pass The Oatmeal Energy Bar Please!

Toasty, nutty, and gooey, energy bars are the perfect grab-and-go breakfast or mid-morning pick me up. But too often, the commercial brands you get in the grocery are loaded with additives and sugars, leaving you with bars that are neither nutrient-dense nor healthy.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix; you can make them yourself!
Not only will your homemade bars be healthier, you’ll also have more control over your flavours and toppings. Toasted oats with macadamia nut and white chocolate? Go for it! Or how about some chia, goji berry, and pumpkin seeds thrown in for a superfood blast? Or better yet, a drizzle of maple syrup or chocolate for just the right balance of health and indulgence!
Whatever your preference and flavour profile, my oat bars are a cinch to make. They require no baking (unless you’re toasting your oats first), and come together in a matter of minutes.
Here’s how I make my delicious Coconut, Date, and Raisin Oat Bar
step 1: roast the oats
Begin by measuring and toasting about 2 cups of oats. Now, you can skip this step but I find that toasted oats just has a much nicer, richer flavor. To toast, simply lay them on a flat sheet pan and pop it into the oven at 350 degrees for 5 minutes. You want to keep a very good eye on them because they do tend to burn very quickly. They are ready the moment you start to smell them.
step 2: make the date paste
Holding the oats and all your toppings together is no easy task! Thankfully, pitted dates are up to the task, and add a touch of natural sweetness to your bars. Pop around 1 to 2 cups of dates into blender and pulse. What you’re looking for is a nice gooey texture, similar to a paste. Make sure to scrape down the sides of your food processor a few times, so that you thoroughly incorporate all your dates into the mixture.
step 3: add syrup
The final base ingredient is some simple syrup. I love using a quarter cup of agave, but you can go for maple syrup, or honey (if you’re not vegan). Get ready to get messy, because you’re going to work the mixture together with your hands (or a spatula if you’re not into that!).
step 4: add your toppings
Here’s your chance to go crazy! From cocoa nibs to nuts, spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to dried fruits and superfoods, you can dump everything (but the kitchen sink) into your oat base. Remember though, that the more you add in, the more calorific your bars are going to be, so if you’re on a bit of a health kick, I recommend sticking to low sugar, low calorie additives like coconut, cinnamon, and a few nuts. We’re adding coconut shavings (I prefer usweetened), pumpkin seeds, and chopped raisins to ours, and boy, do they taste good! Don’t forget to work the mixture with your hands, so that all your toppings are thoroughly incorporated.
step 5: line, freeze, portion
You’re almost done! Line your baking tray with parchment paper and dump your oat mixture onto it. Do not skip lining your tray unless you want to be left with a frozen, sticky mess. Using a spatula or the back of a spoon, push down into the mixture to flatten it and harden it in place. Pop the tray into the freezer for 15-20 minutes, and then cut into squares or rectangles to suit. Store in an air tight container and enjoy!

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