Store-bought granola bars pale in comparison to homemade. I’m not one of those people who makes her own ricotta and bakes her own bread and pickles her own vegetables, but when it comes to granola bars, I’ll make an exception. Because not only are they so good, they’re also super easy to make.
These Caramel Nut Hemp Granola Bars are my absolute favorite. You can switch up the ingredients with different nuts, seeds, chocolate chips or even dried fruits, but I recommend keeping the date caramel recipe as-is because it’s pretty fabulous. And the fact that the “caramel” is made with dates, maple syrup and almond butter instead of heavy cream makes these bars vegan too.
I put hemp seeds in these bars because they’re a good source of omega-3s and protein. You can find them in the bulk section of most natural stores these days, but if you pick up a big bag, there are so many ways to use them: as a garnish for soups or salads, as a base for vegan fudge (seriously!), and in place of nuts in pesto.
Unlike the packaged granola bars you buy at the store, these Caramel Nut Hemp Granola Bars should be kept in the refrigerator or frozen if you’d like them to last a bit longer (up to 3 months). They’re best eaten right out of the fridge, when they’re perfectly chewy and chilled.
Photos by Ana Stanciu
Caramel Nut Hemp Granola Bars
These vegan caramel granola bars are sweet, salty, and packed with nutrition.
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1/3 cup almond butter
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 Medjool dates pitted and quartered
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped roasted almonds or cashews
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- Sea salt flakes
Place the maple syrup, almond butter, coconut oil, dates, and vanilla extract in the small bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth; the mixture should resemble caramel sauce when it's finished.
Stir together the remaining ingredients, except the salt, in a large bowl. Pour the caramel into the bowl and use a wooden spoon (or your hands) to combine.
Grease a square baking dish with coconut oil. Press the granola bar mixture into the dish and sprinkle with a dusting of sea salt. Cover the baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate the granola bars for about 2 hours, or until set.
Once the mixture is set, cut them into 12 equally-sized bars. Keep the bars in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze them for up to 3 months.