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Fig, Date & Almond Granola Bars

Back when I first got out of college and was pining my days away in a cubicle farm, I always hit that stereotypical 3pm brick wall at full speed. To be honest, I still start to drag in the middle of the afternoon but the effects are somewhat lessened when you’re not stuck in a cube with the buzz of white noise clogging up your ears. My remedy for the 3pm crash back in those days was Diet Coke and a snack. For awhile I would wander to the vending machines (walking away from your desk always helped) and grab pretzels or crackers. Then, I started buying boxes of granola bars and keeping them at my desk. They immediately became my go-to snack food when I needed to tide over hunger at work. Truth be told, I haven’t eaten them much since then, partly because I try to stay away from prepackaged/processed foods. Last year I started experimenting with homemade granola bars; not only are they much tastier but there are limitless possibilities in terms of flavors! And they’re still good to have in the house when I hit that 3pm brick wall in my home office :)

I came across this formula for soft and chewy granola bars over at Good Life Eats a little while ago and couldn’t wait to start experimenting! There are five basic components: grains (oats), nuts/seeds, dried fruit, a sticky sweetener and a binder (complete details are below). You can mix and match all sorts of different ingredients and flavors, which is awesome.

These sort of became my “let’s clean out the baking pantry” granola bars. I used up the dates, figs and raisins that I had and they magically added up to just about 1 cup. I had almonds, so I used those, then did honey as my sticky sweetener and unsweetened applesauce (had just enough left!) as my binder. After I made them I realized that they were almost exactly like the Cucidati cookies that I’ve made. Those have a filling that consists of pureed figs, dates, raisins, walnuts, honey and orange marmalde. Guess what? Next time I’m subbing in walnuts for the almonds and orange marmalade for the applesauce. Cucidati granola bars! I can’t wait!

Basic Granola Bar Formula

1. Rolled Grains (2½ cups)
Suggestions: Oats, Rye flakes, Barley flakes, etc.

2. Nuts, Seeds & Spices (1 cup)
Suggestions: Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, Pistachios, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Cinnamon, Ginger, etc.

3. Sticky Sweetener (1/3 cup + ¼ cup)
Suggestions: Honey, Agave Nectar, Molasses, Maple Syrup

4. Dried Fruits (1 cup)
Suggestions: Raisins, Apricots, Dates, Figs, Prunes, Cranberries, Pineapple, etc.

5. Binder (1 cup)
Suggestions: Pureed Dried Fruit, Apple Butter, Peanut Butter, Almond Butter, Unsweetened applesauce, etc.

Fig, Date & Almond Granola Bars

Yield: 8 to 12 bars, depending on how large you cut them

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 + ¼ cup honey
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
2½ cups rolled oats
1 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup chopped dried figs
1/3 cup chopped dried dates
1/3 cup raisins

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the honey, applesauce, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir in the oats, making sure that it is evenly mixed and all of the oats are moistened. Mix in the almonds, figs, dates and raisins.

3. Turn the mixture out into the baking pan and press into the pan, making sure it is evenly distributed and tightly packed.

4. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool in the freezer until the bars are firm, at least 1 hour. Remove from the pan and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe Note: I experimented with this recipe using both traditional rolled oats and quick oats. I tended to like the consistency of the bars with the quick oats, but I had my mom taste both and she liked the traditional rolled oats better. So I think it's a matter of taste/preference. Give them both a shot (or use what you have on hand) and see which you like better!

(Recipe adapted from Good Life Eats)

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70 Responses to “Fig, Date & Almond Granola Bars”

  1. Sara on March 1, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Thank you so much for posting this recipe. I’ve been looking for a while for a granola bar recipe that was “all-purpose” and I’m so happy I’ve found it! The Cucidati variation sounds wonderful.

    Reply

  2. Michele on March 1, 2011 at 12:57 am

    I agree, the cicidate sounds great, can’t wait to see it. Thanks for the breakdown on the different components, that’s handy to have. I just bought figs the other day, not knowing what to do with them, so I think I ‘ll just have to make these granola bars.

    Reply

  3. Kim on March 1, 2011 at 3:28 am

    These sound wonderful. I thought of Cucidati as soon as I read the recipe title! And I was wondering what I was going to do with the leftover Cucidati filling that’s been languishing in the freezer since December. This has inspired me to think of it as binder. Thanks for that!

    Reply

  4. Blog is the New Black on March 1, 2011 at 5:46 am

    I’m all too familiar with that 3PM slump!!! These look wonderful- I love that you gave us a “guide” for making our own bars. :)

    Reply

  5. Lauren at Keep It Sweet on March 1, 2011 at 6:13 am

    I don’t know why I never think to make my own granola bars. Yours look great and really healthy, too.

    Reply

  6. Happy When Not Hungry on March 1, 2011 at 6:36 am

    Love homemade granola bars! I like how you add apple sauce to yours as well. Will definitely be trying your recipe next time. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  7. Penny Wolf on March 1, 2011 at 6:55 am

    This recipe is a keeper! Thank you

    Reply

  8. Lori on March 1, 2011 at 7:01 am

    thanks for posting. My sons both have nut allergies so I am very limited to the choices available at the stores. I just want you to know that I recently borrowed from the library, Dorie Greenspan’s “From My Home To Yours”. You are right! Lots of great recipes in there….My father was so impressed he rushed out and bought a copy for my mother’s collection. She immediately made a batch of muffins. So many recipes….so little time!

    Reply

  9. linda on March 1, 2011 at 7:26 am

    happy march & what a nice way to start the month!
    i have been looking for a great granola bar recipe…my hunt is over…i love all the options!
    as always…thanks so much!

    Reply

  10. Aidan on March 1, 2011 at 7:59 am

    I like an oat texture somewhere between Quick and rolled, so what I do is use half rolled wheat/rye/oat cereal and half quick oats. And if you want a really spectacular taste treat, use treacle (also know as golden syrup) for the sticky sweetener. It is truly out of this world.

    Reply

  11. Jeanine on March 1, 2011 at 8:13 am

    What a fantastic looking granola bar. Easy enough to convert to gluten free as well. Thanks for the recipe, always looking for new granola bar recipes to try!

    Reply

  12. Katrina on March 1, 2011 at 8:46 am

    These look so healthy! I love the recipe :)

    Reply

  13. Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie on March 1, 2011 at 9:03 am

    I absolutely love how versatile granola bars can be. And the fact that you can pretty much throw in whatever is laying around your pantry, too! I just made a batch of loose granola a few weeks ago, but now I feel like making some bars. These just look too good to pass up! Thanks for the awesome formula — so helpful and inspiring!

    Reply

  14. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef on March 1, 2011 at 9:09 am

    oooh i love the basic formula. i made a batch of granola bars this weekend, and they called for corn syrup, which i did have (and subsequently used up). i just didn’t like using it…so thanks for your other sticky sweetener ideas :)

    Reply

  15. Melissa on March 1, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Love mix & match recipes! I hate when I have to buy something just to go into a recipe, & then whatever I don’t use sits in my pantry. With this formula, I just might have to whip some of these up tonight! :)

    Reply

  16. kate@ahealthypassion on March 1, 2011 at 9:52 am

    these bars look delicious! I love making my own homemade bars, so much healthier can’t wait to try yours out!

    Reply

  17. Emily (The Culinary Couple) on March 1, 2011 at 9:53 am

    One of these days I WILL make homemade granola bars. And I think I’ll start with this chewy version.

    Reply

  18. GreenEyedLilo on March 1, 2011 at 10:00 am

    It doesn’t occur to me to make my own granola bars, but this recipe might change that. (For one thing, it’s egg-free, meaning I can have some without tweaking!) I usually have odd bits of fruit, dried or otherwise, around the house–this would be a great way to help me dispose of some.

    Reply

  19. Becky on March 1, 2011 at 11:34 am

    I love this recipe and the versatility that it has. I don’t have any unsweetened applesauce, at the moment, so quick trip to the store, and my husband will have a quick, healthy snack! Thanks for the experimentation beforehand.

    Reply

  20. Robyn on March 1, 2011 at 11:37 am

    homemade granola bars are an obsession in my life. the recipe i use is similar to this one, but i’ll have to try yours too. i also found swapping the vanilla extract for maple extract was a nice change. since i make these every couple weeks, i like to change things around a little each time.

    Reply

  21. Foodies on the Fly on March 1, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Thanks for the post! I have been looking for a granola bar recipe. Can’t wait to try this one!

    Reply

  22. oureyeseatfirst on March 1, 2011 at 11:54 am

    im getting ready to start working again and this would be a great snack to have on hand – thanks for sharing!

    Reply

  23. Stephanie Tramontozzi on March 1, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I also have a box of organic granola bars in my desk as a go to snack at work. I love this mix and match formula for making your own. I can’t wait to try it.

    Reply

  24. Lyndsey @ Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops on March 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    These look and sounds delicious! So much so that I’m going to make some up this afternoon! Thanks : )

    Reply

  25. Claire on March 1, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Has anyone tried making homemade granola bars like this and then freezing some of the results? I would love to make these but think I would like to make a double batch and freeze some to thaw out another week…thoughts/recommendations about this?

    Reply

    • stephanie on November 4th, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      I have made them and they freeze just fine. Cut them up, individually wrap for a quick snack. They are a little more crumbly, but still taste great!

      Reply

  26. Steph@stephsbitebybite on March 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Thank you for this “build your own” granola bar recipe. I have definitely got to give these a try!! I LOVE GRANOLA BARS

    Reply

  27. Paula on March 1, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    I love chewy granola bars, especially with dates and almonds. The fact that you made these from scratch is wonderful. Thanks for posting the recipe, I may just try it one day.

    Reply

  28. Rachel @ The Avid Appetite on March 1, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I love making granola bars, but a lot of times mine fall apart. I really need to try your version since yours seem to have stayed together perfectly!

    Reply

  29. Sunny @ http://pantrychef.wordpress.com on March 1, 2011 at 2:23 pm


    http://pantrychef.wordpress.com

    Haha, just kidding, I just saw where you said that you can… Sorry about that!

    Reply

  30. Brooke (Baking with Basil) on March 1, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I’m experiencing that 3pm slump right now. Please send one of these delicious bars ASAP!

    Reply

  31. Marci on March 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    thanks for posting the formula. i love baking homemade granola and bars. my bars tend to not cut well so i get clumps, which is ok too. i still think there is a trick for cutting that i don’t know yet.

    Reply

  32. Kankana on March 1, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    one healthy bar that is ! love the photography ..

    Reply

  33. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) on March 1, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I’ve never made granola bars but have wanted to for a long time. Thank you for this formula, I’ll be sure to use it. :) YUM!

    Reply

  34. Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner on March 1, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    These sound Stupendous!!! :D Thanks for giving the basic formula for perfect Granola Bars! :D

    Reply

  35. Charissa on March 1, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    This would be so great for stuffing in your purse when out on the town for a day. I really have trouble forgetting to pack things when a snack attack comes!

    Reply

  36. Firefly on March 1, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I love making my own granola bars, so good and healthy! Thanks for the recipe, will try it :)

    Reply

  37. Libbi on March 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    thanks so much for this. i promptly went out and bought ingredients and will be putting them together tonight! :)

    Reply

  38. Toby on March 1, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks for posting this… these look way better than those things you get in the market!

    Reply

  39. Claudia Miller Pletting on March 1, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    I made these today. Love them! I tried mine with a mixture of peanut butter and almond butter! Thank you!!

    Reply

  40. marla {family fresh cooking} on March 1, 2011 at 10:05 pm

    I love homemade granola bars so much more than store bought packaged ones. They are so much healthier & full of flavor too. Thanks for all the tips :)

    Reply

  41. Sharlene on March 1, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    I’ve been seeing a lot of granola bars lately but haven’t yet tried out a recipe. This looks so good!

    Reply

  42. Stephanie on March 2, 2011 at 1:09 am

    Your granola bars look great! I love the idea of making homemade bars so you can control the ingredients (and flavors).

    Reply

  43. laura on March 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    i LOVE the flexibility of this recipe. thanks so much for sharing! i know all about the afternoon hunger monsters. saving this to my online cookbook (http://cookmarked.com)immediately.

    Reply

  44. Michele on March 2, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    These look great! I just mixed up some kid-friendly ones with peanut butter and chocolate chips. My kids love granola bars and I was wondering if these would freeze well if I’d mix up a large batch?

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 2nd, 2011 at 8:24 pm

      Hi Michele, Yep you can definitely freeze these!

      Reply

  45. Diane@Simply Sweet on March 3, 2011 at 9:42 am

    These look awesome! My fiance asked me if I could make him some breakfast bars to take to work in the morning, and these will be perfect. I’m thinking of mixing in macadamia nuts, dried pineapple or mango and mayble a little white chocolate. Thanks for the great idea!

    Reply

  46. The Food Hound on March 3, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I always put dates in my granola! Maple syrup also makes a great sticky sweetener! Making your own is so much better!

    Reply

  47. Claire @ Live & Love to Eat on March 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Been looking for a granola bar recipe to try – this looks like a keeper! Thanks for another great idea!

    Reply

  48. bethany on March 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    I made these granola bars last night and they didn’t turn out. I baked for the time you listed and put them in the freezer for a few hours, however, they crumbled and were very soft. I rebaked them in a bigger dish and it seemed to work better but they still crumbled when I started cutting them. What am I doing wrong, is there a trick to cutting them? They taste good and I’ll probably just eat them as granola.

    Reply

    • Michelle on March 8th, 2011 at 2:05 pm

      Hi Bethany, Hmm no real trick to cutting other than being sure to a sharp, straight knife. I’ve made these a few times now, with different cuts of oats I haven’t had any of them crumble when cutting. I would try baking for a few minutes longer, as sometimes ovens can run cool.

      Reply

  49. Claudia Pletting on March 9, 2011 at 8:03 am

    I absolutly loves these. Made them the day after you posted this recipe and sent this recipe to all my friends!
    I used mostly natural peanut butter and a bit of almond butter for the binder with sunflower seeds, walnuts, honey.
    This is almost like a power bar and even a dessert!
    Thank you … Thank you!

    Reply

    • Claudia Pletting on March 9th, 2011 at 8:07 am

      Oh something I forgot to in my post above. I put 1 1/2 cups of oatmeal in the blender and blended until grainy. I liked the texture of the bar.

      Reply

  50. Antof9 on March 9, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    I made these last night in no time, and they are made of WIN! Everybody loves them. Thanks for this “basic” recipe — it’s perfect. Mine were:
    Oats
    Honey
    Sesame seeds & almonds
    Peanut butter
    White raisins & craisins

    SO GOOD!

    Reply

  51. Marianne @ Meal Mixer on March 10, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    This could be just the thing I need to rid my pantry of packaged granola bars! I always make my own granola..you’ve inspired me to make these. Might be just the thing for my husband to keep in his desk drawer for that dreaded slump! :)

    Reply

  52. Rachel R. on March 10, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    I love this! I’ve been looking for a bar recipe. I also LOVE that you provide the “type” and amount of ingredient needed. So flexible! Can’t wait to try it.

    Reply

  53. April on March 18, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    http://organiquegal.com/chewy-granola-bar-formula-chocolate-chip-coconut.html

    I made a Chewy Chocolate Chip Coconut granola bar and gave you credit where due in my blog post. :) They turned out AMAZING!!!

    Reply

  54. Carrie on March 23, 2011 at 11:04 am

    These are very similiar to the bars i make every week (based on an Ina recipe), but she uses some butter and a little brown sugar… I think I’ll give it a shot to replace it with applesauce next time. I’m curious to see how different (or simliar) they are! Hopefully, my boyfriend won’t notice the change and I can have a healthier option… =)

    Reply

  55. Audrey Ellen on March 27, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I used your basic formula to make cherry, almond, peanut butter bars, quite the hodge podge, but they were great!

    http://mysceneandherd.blogspot.com/2011/03/granola-bars.html

    Thank you for the inspiration and I will definitely be using this recipe again.

    Reply

  56. blogbytina! on March 30, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I have made these 3 times so far, each time using different binders, sweeteners, and mixins! They are all so wonderful and did not last long!

    Thanks for the great recipe!

    Reply

  57. Sofia on April 10, 2011 at 8:54 am

    Penny,
    I FINALLY made the granolas bars and I am so thankful you told me to check your site. I made them totally different than yours but would never have been able to do them without your guidelines. The kids are loving them and so are the adults! Actually am already doing a second batch, this time with all types of seeds. THANK YOU!

    Reply

  58. Claudia Pletting on August 26, 2011 at 8:00 am

    Just HAD to tell you, first, I used this recipe ALL the time and usually it’s with either natural peanut butter or almond butter. This week, I used canned pumpkin as the binder and added all the pumpkin pie spices. Love it!

    There are many recipes that I have tried (from this site.) And…I’m starting to do my own “food photography” Just a fun thing when cooking.

    Keep them coming. You are appreciated!
    Claudia

    Reply

  59. Shannon | JustAsDelish on September 15, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I’m so grateful for this recipe! I created my own variation with pureed dates, just posted them on my site
    http://www.justasdelish.com/2011/09/15/apricot-walnut-granola-bar/

    Reply

  60. stephanie on November 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    If I wanted to add coconut, What category would it be under? dried fruit? nuts/seeds?

    Reply

    • Michelle on November 6th, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Hi Stephanie, I would throw it under nuts/seeds.

      Reply

  61. Yvonne on November 11, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Thanks so much for your recipe and guidelines, Michelle! I love your blog and have made quite a few things already, all of which are delectable! Just have a quick question about these granola bars…like some the others, mine were a bit mushy. The top is baked fine but the bottom is kind of soft. Is that how they are supposed to be? Should I remove the parchment and bake them longer? (I was thinking of flipping them in the pan and baking a bit longer). I appreciate your help!

    Reply

  62. Michelle on November 13, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Hi Yvonne, These do make chewy bars; they will not be crunchy. Be sure to pack the mixture very firmly into the pan. While mine were fine going from the oven into the freezer, it might vary depending on the type of pan that is being used. You could try letting the pan cool on a wire rack, then popping it in the freezer. That may help.

    Reply

    • Yvonne on November 17th, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks for your tips, Michelle! Tested them out on some friends and they all loved them. Thank you for another great recipe! :)

      Reply

  63. Alaina on May 22, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Thanks for the recipe! One question–do these bars have any trouble holding together? I hate when granola bars crumble during slicing!

    Reply

    • Michelle on May 23rd, 2013 at 11:28 pm

      Hi Alaina, I have not had any trouble with these bars crumbling.

      Reply

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