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Our family has a love/hate relationship with our hiking food. When the mood strikes, we want to shove some sustenance into a bag and hit the trail. On the other hand, when we stop to snack after an exhilarating day in the woods, we want to eat something tasty. Something that isn’t GORP. Something that will make us love outdoor life even more.
When we first started hiking with kids, we kept the pantry stocked with every type of protein or power bar you can imagine. They were certainly quick and easy, but it didn’t take long before nobody would eat them anymore. The thrill was gone.
I started playing around with all kinds of recipes for portable trail bars. Most were too sweet. Many of them fell apart and had to be eaten as crumbs on the trail. And not once did my kids ask me to repeat a recipe.
I found myself with some free time last weekend and decided to give my experimentation with homemade granola bars one more go. I was going for superior sturdiness, big flavor, and optimum nutrition — a grab-and-go bar for day hikes, long hours at school, or a post-aikido treat.
Friends, I finally hit the mark. These bars have been so popular, that I’ve had to wrap them up and hide them in the freezer. They are sweet without tasting like dessert. They can live in the bottom of your daypack without turning to crumbs. And they disappear at an alarming rate.
These guys are made with almond butter, but you can substitute sun butter if there are nut allergies in your family. You can also use gluten-free oats if necessary, and really, any mixture of seeds will work. Without further ado, I present to you:
Sturdy and Delicious Super-Seed Granola Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- 2 Tbs. flax seeds
- 2 Tbs. chia seeds
- 2 Tbs. sesame seeds
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup pitted dates
- ½ cup honey
- ⅓ cup coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
- ¼ cup almond butter
Mix the dry ingredients (the first six) in a large bowl.
Add the last four ingredients to a saucepan and cook over medium low heat while stirring gently. After everything is mixed together, you can add it to a food processor and blend it up, or if you’re feeling lazy, like me, you can just mush it all together with a wooden spoon until it looks fairly uniform.
Add your date mixture to the dry ingredients and stir it together until all the dry ingredients look damp and glossy. This will take a bit of elbow grease, and the mixture will be thick and sticky.
Line a 9 X 13 inch cake pan with parchment paper so that it hangs over the long sides. You will use this as a sling to remove the bars from the pan. Now spread the mixture into the pan and press down firmly with an offset spatula (or your fingers).
Bake in a preheated 300℉ oven for 35 minutes. Let the granola bars cool completely before cutting into rectangles or squares.
These will keep for a few weeks in the pantry if they are hidden well. Otherwise all bets are off.
Let me know how these turned out for you in the comments, and please share if you have any awesome, trail-worthy snack ideas.
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