I love this recipe because I know exactly what's in it and that it's not loaded with refined sugar or high fructose corn syrup. There are also some great super foods in my granola bars. They taste good and are healthy. They store well and even hold up well in the freezer. They're the perfect on-the-go snack.
Technique tip: Individual bars may be wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week or up to three weeks in the freezer.
Swap option: Get nutty and swap out pistachios for peanuts, cashews, almonds or any mixture of nuts. Add some dried cherries or cranberries for extra fruitiness. You can swap nut butters, omit the cocoa powder, add chocolate chips, add dried fruit and so forth. The possibilities are endless!
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with foil or parchment paper, being sure to cover all edges, leaving a about a 1/2-inch overhang on all sides.2.
Line a sheet pan with parchment. Place the oats on the baking sheet and cook until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes ,then cool to room temperature.3.
Meanwhile place the almond butter, honey, vanilla bean paste and sea salt in a medium pot. Cook over medium high heat, stirring continually with a rubber spatula until all ingredients have melted into one smooth mixture, about 5 minutes (do not leave unattended as the mixture can burn easily). As soon as everything has melted together, transfer a large bowl.4.
Combine the pistachios, chia seeds, cocoa powder, flax meal, cocoa nibs and oats in a large bowl. Scatter the mixture over the nut butter and, with a spatula or clean hands, mix everything together until it's well combined and the mixture is a solid chocolate mass. Sprinkle in the puffed brown rice cereal and gently mix with your hands.5.
Place the granola mixture in the prepared baking dish, being sure to cover the entire pan evenly. With your hands, press the mixture firmly down, into a compact/solid block. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 15 minutes or refrigerator until firm, about 2-3 hours.6.
Once the bars are cooled and firm, lift the foil or parchment paper from the dish and place on a cutting board. Trim the edges (perfect for light snacking), then cut into bars and enjoy the delicious chocolaty goodness!