Sunflower Seed Butter Granola Bars with Chocolate Drizzle (no-bake, vegan, gluten-free)
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: Makes one 8-by-8-inch pan, about 12 rectangular granola bars similar to storebought chewy granola bars
 
These granola bars are made with one of my favorite nut butters, sunflower seed butter. It has a distinctively bold, yet slightly sweet flavor. By combining sunflower seed butter, agave, and Medjool dates with oats in a food processor, these no-bake granola bars come together in minutes and are finished off with a chocolate drizzle. They're vegan, gluten-free, fast and easy, very chewy and texture-filled. Perfect to toss into a lunch box, gym bag, or purse.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats (not instant or quick cook, Bob's Red Mill (vegan, GF)
  • about 15 medium-sized soft Medjool dates, pitted
  • heaping ½ cup sunflower seed butter (peanut butter or almond butter may be substituted, noting ratios may need to be tweaked on dry ingredients)
  • ¼ cup agave nectar (brown rice syrup, corn syrup, maple syrup, or honey may be substituted)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon+ cinnamon
  • 1 cup cripsy rice cereal (Rice Krispies, Erehwon Crispy Brown Rice cereal (vegan, GF), or similar)
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
Instructions
  1. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with aluminum foil and optionally spray with cooking spray; set aside. To the canister of a food processor or Vita-Mix (I used a food processor) add oats, dates, sunflower seed butter (I used Trader Joe's), agave, cinnamon, vanilla, and process until mixture comes together. Mixture will be dense and should form a big dough ball in the food processor; this is a good sign. The mixture should err on the side of being wet because 1 cup cereal will be stirred in by hand in the next step, absorbing some of the moisture. When squeezed between fingers, the mixture should hold it’s shape, not fall apart, nor be crumbly at all. If it crumbles or falls apart, it’s too dry and needs more moisture or a binding ingredient such as additional agave, sunflower seed butter, or dates to be added in order for it to come together. Conversely, add more oats if mixture seems very sloppy or wet, noting that 1 cup cereal will be stirred in next, absorbing some moisture. This is not an exact science and you may need to play with the ratios of wet and dry ingredients, but the goal is a mixture that can be packed into a pan, and when sliced, will hold it’s shape in bar form; it should be thick, moist, and dense.
  2. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the crispy rice cereal, slightly crushing it while folding it in with the spoon. Keep folding until all the cereal appears to disappear into the mixture. Firmly press mixture into an even flat layer in prepared pan and smooth it with a spatula; set pan aside.
  3. In a medium microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips on high power, about 1 minute. Stir until chips are melted and smooth, reheating in 10 to 15-second bursts until chocolate can be stirred smooth. Drizzle chocolate over the dough and place pan in the refrigerator to set up for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Bars may be wrapped individually in plasticwrap or stored in an airtight container and kept at room temperature for up to 1 week, or stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
  4. Take care to use brands of ingredients that are certified gluten-free or vegan, if your dietary path necessitates it.
Recipe by Averie Cooks at https://www.averiecooks.com/sunflower-seed-butter-granola-bars-with-chocolate-drizzle/