No Bake Granola Bars with Cranberries, Almonds & Chocolate

I love granola bars.  They are an essential item in my kitchen and truth be told, I used to spend a lot of $ on buying packaged bars.  I’ve experimented with many variations of granola bars and this is my favorite no-bake recipe!  These keep really well in the freezer and actually taste even more satisfying frozen (they do not freeze rock solid, similar to my peanut butter energy ball recipe!).  My boys loves these but I take out the mix-ins for my 18 month old.  All heart-healthy, natural ingredients: Flaxseed, oats, applesauce, honey and nut butter.  Once you make the base of the recipe, the mix-ins are endless.  Try unsweetened coconut, raisins, chopped walnuts, etc.  I also have a version that you can bake and includes egg, so if you prefer no nuts (or even for allergy reasons), check that recipe out.  It’s on my instagram page @cookingfortots but I’ll post on my blog later so stay tuned!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup finely ground flaxseed

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1/2 cup natural almond or peanut butter (if you have your nut butter in the fridge, microwave it for about 15 seconds before using it here)

1/3 cup honey

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Mix-ins: 1/3 cup chocolate chips, 1/3 cup slivered almonds, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup dried

Directions:

  1. Combine applesauce, vanilla, honey and nut butter in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine flaxseed, oats, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Add the honey mixture to the oats and stir well! Coating all of the oats.
  4. Now fold in your mix-ins.
  5. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and pour in the mixture.
  6. Important! Press firmly down on the mixture to create a long rectangular shape about 1/2″ thick.
  7. Place in the freezer for quicker binding or the fridge for about 2 hours.
  8. Note: If in the fridge, some pieces may fall off as these do not bind super well but I do recommend freezing them as they hold together even better.

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