Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars make a great homemade snack alternative to store-bought. They’re so easy to make and the recipe does not use any refined sugar, which make these a healthy and nutritious snack or treat! The addition of tahini makes the flavoring just a bit unique and a great departure from the typical granola bar!
One of the hardest part of having the kids home almost 24/7, is feeling like I’m constantly feeding them ha! Of course I’m used to making 2 meals a day, plus packing them a lunch. But when they are home so often, they seem to eat more than normal. I guess like the average adult, being home increases the want to munch on yummy treats, whether out of boredom or just because food is good!
At any rate, it’s been a challenge to keep a well-stocked fridge and pantry, but these bars are one treat they’ve really been enjoying!
Ingredients for Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
- Rolled Oats (old fashioned preferred, but you can also use quick oats)
- Dates (these help sweeten the bars)
- Pure maple syrup (also a sweetener, maple syrup is lower on the glycemic scale than refined sugar, and has nutrients)
- Tahini (added for a unique flavor, but also adds a dose of healthy fats and protein)
- Vanilla (go for pure vanilla extract)
- Sea salt (this helps highlight the sweetness just a bit)
- Mini chocolate chips (go for a lower sugar content dark chocolate chip)
How to make
Place dates into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the tahini, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Process until a smooth paste forms.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add the rolled oats and 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips, and stir until well combined. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
- Line an 8- by 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Press the oat mixture into the pan in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips.
- Chill the bars until firm, about 30-60 minutes.
Naturally Sweetened Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bar
These granola bars are definitely sweet, but rely on natural sweeteners; dates and maple syrup, to make them sweet enough and hold together without loads of processed sugars and syrups. The tahini could be replaced with peanut, almond, or sunflower butter, but I find that when it’s paired with dates in just the right amount, it gives these an almost toffee flavor. So there’s just enough tahini so you know it’s there, but not too much that it’s overpowering or bitter.
Quite honestly, I’ve never seen a snack disappear as quickly as these bars! They absolutely love them. They are a perfect whole food snack/sometimes treat that I don’t give a second thought in letting the kids devour them!
What makes these granola bars healthier than store bought?
- Lower in sugar, and uses natural sweeteners in dates and maple syrup. Dates have fiber and are loaded with a variety of antioxidants. And maple syrup is lower on the glycemic index scale (less severe sugar highs and lows), and contains essential minerals, including calcium, zinc, magnesium and potassium.
- Tahini is fairly low in calories but high in fiber, protein, and several important vitamins and minerals.
- Dark chocolate is rich in minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. The cocoa in dark chocolate also contains antioxidants called flavonoids.
All that being said, while these are a healthier alternative to store bought granola bars, they do still contain a decent amount of sugar. So we eat a pan with wild abandon, but also not every single day haha!
Store in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to a week. Allow them to come to room temperature if you want a chewier, softer texture before eating.
Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
Tahini Chocolate Chip Granola Bars
- 1 cup soft pitted dates
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1/3 cup plus 2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips divided
- Place dates into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Pulse until finely chopped. Add the tahini, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and sea salt. Process until a smooth paste forms. Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl. Add half the rolled oats and stir until well combined. Add the remaining oats and 1/3 cup of the chocolate chips. Stir until everything is combined and no dry oats remain. The mixture will be very thick and sticky.
- Line an 8- by 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper. Press the oat mixture into the pan in an even layer. Sprinkle the remaining 2 Tablespoons mini chocolate chips on top and press into the surface of the bars so they don't fall off.
- Chill the bars until firm, about 30-60 minutes. Cut into 12 bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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