DANIEL FAST FRIENDLY GRANOLA BARS!
1 heaping cup packed dates, pitted
1/4 cup maple syrup, agave nectar, or honey if not vegan
1/4 cup creamy salted natural peanut butter or almond butter
1 cup roasted unsalted almonds*, loosely chopped
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (gluten free for GF eaters)
optional additions: dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc.
Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a "dough" like consistency. (Mine rolled into a ball.)
Optional step: Toast your oats (and almonds if raw) in a 350 degree F (176 C) oven for 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw - I prefer the toasted flavor.
Place oats, almonds and dates in a large mixing bowl - set aside.
Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8x8-inch baking dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily. (A loaf pan might work, but will yield thicker bars.)
Press down firmly until uniformly flattened - I use something flat, like a drinking glass, to press down and really pack the bars, which helps them hold together better.
Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let firm up in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes.
Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars (or 9 squares). Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. I kept mine in the freezer to keep them extra fresh, but it isn't necessary.