CFG Kitchen: Nutty Chocolate Chip ‘Nola Bars (w/ Instructions!)

Raise your hand if you enjoy dessert (raises both hands). Thanks to City Fit Girls' Jackie McQuiston, we have a sweet treat for you to try at home. Have a dairy or gluten allergy? No worries, Jackie includes substitute ingredients at the bottom of this post. After you try out the delicious recipe, let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Time:  20 min

Makes: 14-20 bars (depending on size)

Ingredients:

1¾ cups quick-cook oats (or old-fashioned oats, pulsed in a food processor/blender to break up)

1⅓ cup sliced almonds (OR any other nut/combo of nuts: walnuts/pecans…)

⅔ cup mini dark chocolate chips (OR any other type of chip, could also sub w/ dried fruit)

1 tsp ground cinnamon

½ - ¾ teaspoon salt, to taste (decrease if your almond/peanut butter is salted)

1 cup creamy unsalted nut butter (I like to use PB)

½ cup honey OR agave nectar

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

Use a glass or parchment lined square (8x8 or 9x9) / rectangular (9x13) cake pan.

In a mixing bowl, gently whisk together oats, nuts, chips, cinnamon and salt.

Combine the nut butter with honey and vanilla until well blended.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix together until the two are evenly combined and no dry oats remain. The drier the mixture, the more firm the bars will be, so stir in extra oats if the mixture seems wet.

Transfer to a glass or parchment lined square (8x8 or 9x9) OR rectangular (9x13) cake pan. Use a spoon to arrange the mixture fairly evenly, then use the bottom of a flat, round surface (like a short drinking glass with a piece of parchment) to pack mixture down firmly and evenly.

Cover with lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.

Use a sharp knife to slice the bars. You can wrap individual bars in plastic wrap or parchment paper. Bars keep well for a couple of days at room temperature, about 7-10 days in the fridge, but for best flavor store individually wrapped bars in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer.

NOTES

Recipe adapted from Cookie+Kate, Sally's Baking Addiction, Smitten Kitchen

MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE: use certified gluten-free oats

MAKE IT VEGAN: sub maple syrup for agave & use dairy-free chips

MAKE IT DAIRY FREE: use dairy-free chips