4 cups oats, take one 1 cup and put through blender or food processor until it has a coarse flour consistency. If you omit this step, they will not hold together.
12 oz. pitted dates, chopped finely
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup plant-oil, such as canola or coconut (I have tried making the recipe using 1/2 cup applesauce replacing the oil, but the bars were hard as bricks.)
I use a total of 2 cup of variable ingredients, in whatever combination strikes my fancy (or what I have in the house.) Use your imagination and your own family’s preferences here. Examples: shredded coconut, chocolate chips, M & M’s, raisins, nuts, dried cranberries. I would not use more than 1 cup of melty things like butterscotch chips or M & M’s per batch.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil a 9 x 13 pan. In a large bowl, mix the peanut butter and chopped dates together, add the oats, then the 2 cups of variable ingredients. Place the mixture in the 9 x 13 pan (it should be too thick to pour) and then using a greased hand or waxed paper covered hand, press the mixture into the pan, removing any air pockets. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let cool. Cut into bars.
OK. Here is where I get really silly. My kids will eat about 1/3 of the pan when they are fresh…….but then just sort of forget about them (like the invisible fruit decorations in bowls around the house) so……I individually wrap the remaining bars in waxed paper and place them on the “snack shelf” of the pantry. Voila! Snacks no longer invisible. I do not understand why this works, but it does.