Trying to keep healthy when looking for a snack can be difficult. My office recently underwent a huge renovation this spring that led to us all getting smaller cubicles (boo) but also high-quality standing desks (hooray).
Since our desks now take up less room, they had extra space to build a small vending machine area that has some fresh food but also tons of dangerous temptations, like Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies.
I do my best to bring lunch everyday, which cuts back on making unhealthy choices at the cafeteria.
If I pack correctly, I will also have an afternoon snack on hand that stops me from having to lose the battle to these new vending machines. With that said, I’m always on the hunt for great healthy snacks that go beyond just a handful of almonds or being the weird guy at the office eating a hard-boiled egg at 3pm.
This is all a long-winded introduction to this amazing recipe for no-bake chocolate chip, pecan, sunflower seed butter squares.
I found the original recipe for granola bars via Minimalist Baker and adapted it to my tastes and available equipment.
With just 6 simple ingredients, the finished awesomeness yields 9 delicious chewy squares.
As you will see, it is pretty Paleo-friendly. The only item in question is the oats. I used organic, steel-cut oats found in the bulk section at my local co-op. It’s not the biggest of Paleo sins and since I really wanted to try these I decided to let this minor offense slide.
- 1 cup packed dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
- 3/4 cup pecans (chopped)
- 1 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
- 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Place dates in a food processor / blender and pulse until small bits remain and they form a ball. Transfer to a large mixing bowl and add oats, pecans, and chocolate chips. Stir with a wooden spoon, breaking down the dates so everything starts sticking together.
- Warm the honey and sunflower seed butter in a small saucepan on low for a few minutes. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir quickly.
- Transfer to a shallow 8 x 8 pan lined with parchment or plastic wrap and top with another piece of plastic wrap and use your hands to press and form the mixture into a tight square with a uniformly flat top.
- Place the covered pan into the freezer to set for 15 minutes. Remove and cut into 9 equal-sized squares. Store in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator to keep fresh, or in the freezer for longer term storage.
These are so good because you have some sweetness from the sunflower seed butter, honey and chocolate chips, you have some texture from the oats, you have some crunch from the pecans, and you have the health benefits from the dates.
Who needs any store bought snacks when you can prepare these from start to finish in less than 30-minutes?
Try out the recipe and let me know what you think in the comments below. Also, feel free to offer any suggestions as to what to name this delicious snack!