The shelves at the grocery store are packed with granola bars. Why bother making them at home? Because these seriously beat any granola bars I have ever had. They are incredibly delicious, satisfying and simple to make. When feeling like having something sweet and nutritious, these will become your favourite go-to granola bars.
Place dates in the food processor and pulse until small, sticky crumbs are formed. These may come together to a ball as you process. Move into a medium bowl and set aside. No need to clean the food processor yet.
Lightly toast the almonds or hazelnuts. Place in the food processor and pulse into medium-size pieces. Add the nuts to the bowl of dates.
Lightly toast the oats. Add to the bowl of dates and nuts.
Place the honey (or maple), sesame paste and cinnamon powder (if using) in a small saucepan and warm up. Stir to combine. Do not boil or overheat.
Pour the warm mixture onto the dates, nuts and oats. Add a pinch of salt.
Mix well with a fork, ensuring the dates pieces are well spread in the mixture.
Allow mixture to cool a bit.
Add chocolate chips and mix in with a fork.
Line your 9x9 pan with parchment paper leaving enough paper edges for easy removal of the bars after cooling. Pour the mixture in, flattening and levelling it in the pan.
Cover with Saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
Using the edges of the parchment paper, carefully remove the bar from the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into 8-10 even bars. Keep refrigerated in an air-tight glass container for up to a week.
Nut-free version - Replace the nuts with sunflower seeds. Vegan version - Use maple syrup (instead of honey) and vegan chocolate chips.