These Granola Bars with Date Caramel are healthy, chewy, crunchy, salty-sweet, and very satisfying. They are awesome for a snack, perfect for breakfast on the run, and will easy satisfy your dessert cravings.
Line an 8" x 8" (20 cm x 20 cm) baking dish with parchment paper (this step is optional, but the parchment paper does help with removing the bars from the baking dish).
Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine. The rolled oats should be completely coated and start to stick together in clumps.
Once thoroughly mixed, transfer the mixture to the parchment-lined baking dish. Use wet or lightly oiled hands to firmly press the mixture into the pan.
Raw version: let the bars firm up in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes. Then remove the bars from the pan and cut them into 8-10 even bars.
Baked version: preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C) with a rack in the middle of the oven. Bake the bars for 20-25 minutes for chewy granola bars or 25-30 minutes for crunchy bars. As soon as you remove the bars from the oven, press them down again with the back of a lightly oiled spatula. (This will give you more compacted granola bars.) Let the bars cool completely in the pan. Then remove the bars from the pan and cut them into 8-10 even bars.
Store leftover bars covered in the refrigerator for 1 week. For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for 1-2 months.
This recipe has been adapted from Minimalist Baker.