No-bake Peanut Butter Granola Bars

I've been developing several granola bars recipes for spanish food brands this month and thought it was my turn to create a customized version for the blog. It's been a while since I published a snack recipe with a granola base and the peanut butter+dark chocolate chips+roasted peanuts combo is surely the winning one to me! These are a total hit at our house, my sister is addicted to them and they are the perfect snack on the go and also give you a good boost of energy. It's great to have these kind of portable and easy healthy treats in your fridge, especially on busy days! No-bake or raw snacks are my life saver.
Toasting the rolled oats and roasting the peanuts with a little bit of coconut oil really makes the difference, gives a richer, nuttier flavor but it's completely optional if you're short on time.
After almost two weeks dealing with a nasty flu I'm finally feeling like myself again, my appetite is back and that means I'm inspired and willing to try new recipes and eat dark chocolate again. Also days are already getting longer and it's awesome to have a little bit more natural light for my food photography, makes me feel less stressed. lol :-p

No-bake PB Granola Bars
(yield: 12 bars approx.)

1 1/2 cups rolled oats.
1/2 cup raw unsalted peanuts.
1/3 cup natural peanut butter.
1/3 cup pure maple syrup.
2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil.
1/4 cup chia seeds.
1/4 cup sultana raisins.
2 tablespoons coconut sugar.
A pinch of pink Himalayan salt.
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips, optional.

First of all toast the oats in a large frying pan greased with a bit of coconut oil, until they look golden brown and they release a toasty aroma. Transfer to a big plate and let cool while you roast the peanuts in the same frying pan (adding a bit of coconut oil). When the peanuts are ready sprinkle a little bit of salt on top and let them cool.
In a medium saucepan over low heat melt the peanut butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil. Stir and mix well until a soft cream forms. This is the "glue" that will stick everything together. Set aside to cool a little bit.
In a big mixing bowl mix the toasted rolled oats with the roasted peanuts, chia seeds, raisins, coconut sugar and a small pinch of pink Himalayan salt. Stir until combined and add in the creamy PB-maple mixture, mixing with a large wooden spoon or silicone spatula. It's important to mix really well so the chia seeds, nuts and raisins are well distributed. It should be a sticky mixture. If you are using dark chocolate chips, then stir them into the mixture (for a healthier/lighter option try using raw cacao nibs).
Line the bottom of a square pan (the one we use for brownies) with parchment paper, leaving some extra inches overhanging the sides to easily remove the mixture later, and firmly press the granola bar mixture into the pan. Finally use your clean hands to ensure you get a very compact and even layer.
Let it sit in the fridge for about 1 hour or until very firm. Carefully remove bars from pan and chop into 12 even squares.
Store in an airtight container refrigerated to keep them extra fresh, up to one week.