almond oatmeal granola bars

Ready or not, here it comes: back to school. My siblings are back at school, my teacher friends are back in their classrooms and campus is bustling around me. Back to school is here, whether we like it or not. To make it a little easier, I made almond oatmeal granola bars!

Almond oatmeal granola bars are perfect for the busy back-to-school season. | Pass the Cookies

I love granola bits more than the average person, but it is difficult to pack them up and nonchalantly eat them at work. There are lots of crumbs, and it is usually easier to eat with a spoon instead of shoveling with a hand shoved to the mouth, hoping to catch all of the crumbs. To solve that problem for on-the-go students, teachers and staff, almond oatmeal granola bars are an easy, portable, convenient and delicious snack option.

Almond oatmeal granola bars are perfect for the busy back-to-school season. | Pass the Cookies

These bars are filled with nuts, seeds and grains, with a little extra sweetness from honey. Almond butter and honey (or maple syrup, for vegans), bind the other ingredients together and keep the bars from crumbling to pieces. Chopped almonds, pepitas, shredded coconut and oats are suspended in the mixture, delivering a different texture to every bite.  Another bonus: these bars are so so so easy.  Mix the ingredients, refrigerate, cut and eat – that’s it!

Almond oatmeal granola bars are perfect for the busy back-to-school season. | Pass the Cookies

Almond oatmeal granola bars are perfect for the busy back-to-school season. | Pass the Cookies

I wanted these to be purely nutty goodness, without the usual dried fruit mix-ins that I would add to regular granola, but you can definitely add chopped dried fruit as long as you decrease the amount of other mix-ins (chopped almonds, pepitas, shredded coconut). You can switch up the almond butter for peanut butter, swap toasted almonds for toasted pecans, increase the sweetness with more honey; it’s up to you! Use these proportions, but make them your own!

Almond oatmeal granola bars are perfect for the busy back-to-school season. | Pass the Cookies

Happy start of school! I still don’t know how I feel about it…

Almond Oatmeal Granola Bars
¾ cup chopped almonds
¼ cup pepitas (can use all almonds)
1 ¾ cups quick cooking oats, or rolled oats pulsed a few times in the food processor
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup creamy almond butter (can use natural peanut butter for the same texture)
½ cup honey or pure maple syrup (I sometimes use ¼ cup of each)
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Line an 8×8-inch pan with parchment paper.

Toast the almonds in a toaster oven or an oven. To toast in an oven, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place the chopped almonds on an ungreased, unlined baking sheet. Cook them until golden. You won’t need the oven again after this step. You don’t have to toast the almonds, but the bars taste so delicious when you do.

In a medium bowl, mix the almonds, pepitas, oats, coconut, cinnamon, ginger and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix the almond butter, honey and/or syrup, and the extracts.

Pour the almond butter mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine until it is well mixed and there are no dry oats.

Place all of the ingredients into your parchment-lined pan and press down evenly. Cover the bars with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the parchment paper out. Cut squares or rectangles. The squares seem to stay together better. Individually wrap in plastic wrap for portability, or store wrapped bars in the freezer for later. The bars will stay good at room temperature for a few days, in the refrigerator for a week or two, and in the freezer for a few months. If you save them for later, put the wrapped bars in a freezer safe bag to really ensure they stay fresh.

You can also halve this recipe and make it in a loaf pan.

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