This recipe took me over a year to perfect. When I first started working on these bars, the purpose was to create a healthy alternative to one of my favorite hunger curbing snacks- granola bars. The major issue I have with (any) commercially manufactured product is all of the addicting, low quality ingredients that they're comprised of. Most granola bars (that are highly targeted to children) are filled with sugar, preservatives, and wheat fillers.
This recipe initially started without any grain, and can still be crafted that way, if one so chooses. The gluten free oats do, however, assist to bind the bars which can otherwise crumble more easily. Lastly, finding an appropriate sweetener that doubled as a binding agent took some time. After experimenting with honey and maple syrup, I finally concluded that brown rice syrup actually held up the best.
I encourage you to experiment with 1/2 cup of raisins, dates or cranberries, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons flaked coconut, or 1/3 cup of dark chocolates chips as well!
2 cups mixed nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pecans, all unsalted)
1c gluten free oats
1T chia seeds
1T hemp seeds
1/2t sea salt
1/4c peanut butter
2T coconut oil
1t vanilla extract
1/2c brown rice syrup
First pulse the nuts in a food processor until they are moderately ground (as pictured below).
Add the nuts to a mixing bowl and combine with oats, seeds and salt evenly. In a saucepan over low heat, mix peanut butter, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients, incorporating evenly. Heat the brown rice syrup separately, over medium heat. As soon as the syrup starts to bubble (reaching no higher than 260 degrees on a candy thermometer), remove it and pour directly over the oat/nut mixture. Be sure to thoroughly mix the syrup into the dough, providing a balanced consistency.
Lightly grease a pyrex/baking dish with coconut oil. Transfer the oat/nut mixture to the glass dish and firmly press down. Cover with saran wrap and leave in the refrigerator for at least one hour.
Once cooled, the bars can be trimmed and adorned however you would like. When coating the bars in a hot liquid (chocolate, jam, etc), the bars must be chilled first. In the first image above I melted dark chocolate in a double boiler and then dipped them on one side. In the other image I reduced down raspberry jam over medium heat, dipped the bars in the liquid and then coated them in flaked coconut.