Chef Recipe Series: Sharon Hearne Smith’s Gusty Granola Bars

Chef Recipe Series: Sharon Hearne Smith's Gusty Granola Bars

Gutsy Granola Bars

In our new Chef Recipe Series we have teamed up with one of Ireland’s leading food stylists and cookbook author Sharon Hearne-Smith to bring you “Healthier Treats For Kids”.

In this recipe video series the focus will be on delicious treats that are refined sugar free, using natural sugars such as fruit to sweeten and using healthier alternatives. Check out Sharon’s Gusty Granola Bars. They are ideal for after school snacks or treats.

Over the coming weeks we will bring you easy child friendly recipe videos, that are easy to follow and super tasty without all the nasties! These are a much healthier alternative to some of the shop bought treats that are ladened with sugar and E numbers.

To follow the series subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Gutsy Granola Bars

These granola bars are held together with peanut butter, puréed dates and maple syrup, and are surprisingly sturdy considering they are not baked. You can use almond or cashew nut butter in place of peanut butter if you prefer, and try honey or agave nectar instead of maple syrup. These are vegan-friendly (except if you use honey) and suitable for coeliacs if you choose gluten-free oats.

Makes: 10 bars (or 20 smaller squares)


  • Sunflower oil, for greasing
  • 150g rolled oats
  • 75g pecan nuts
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 50g raisins
  • 2 tbsp golden linseeds
  • 1⁄4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 175g pitted Medjool dates
  • 75g crunchy peanut butter
  • 75g maple syrup


  • 17.5cm square cake tin or baking dish
    Food processor


  1. Grease the tin with oil and line with parchment paper, leaving 5cm excess hanging over the edges to help with lifting out later.
  1. Toast the oats, pecan nuts, pumpkin and sesame seeds together in a large dry frying pan over a medium heat until golden brown, tossing regularly. Tip them into a large bowl and toss together with the raisins, linseeds and cinnamon.
  1. Blend the dates in a food processor until smooth and tip into a medium saucepan. Add the peanut butter and maple syrup and cook over a medium heat for a few minutes, stirring, until well blended. Pour this mixture into the dry ingredients and stir everything well together until evenly coated.
  1. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin, spreading it out evenly with the back of a spoon. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for 1-2 hours until set firm.
  1. Lift the granola slab out of the tin and peel the paper away from the sides. Cut into five even-sized strips, then cut these in half across to give 10 bars. Cut each one in half again to give 20 smaller squares if you prefer. These will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the fridge.

Facebook Live With Sharon Hearne Smith

Getting to know Sharon:

Sharon Hearne-Smith is a food stylist and cookbook author. She has worked her magic with food in the media for 20 years in Ireland, the UK and the US. Her experience includes ghostwriting, recipe development and food styling for cookbooks and magazines and she has worked on over 30 cookery TV shows. Sharon has worked behind the scenes supporting top celebrity chefs including Jamie Oliver, James Martin, Gordon Ramsey, Lorraine Pascale, Donal Skehan, Rachel Allen and Neven Maguire.

 In recent years, Sharon has written two of her own cookbooks, No Bake Baking  and The No-Cook Cookbook, published by Quercus (London). She is a regular cook on RTE’s Today Show. Sharon is in her second year as ambassador for Supervalu’s ‘Get Ireland Cooking’ project where she helps encourage the nation to get cooking fresh, healthy and homecooked meals with a particular emphasis on encouraging kids to get involved.

Since becoming a Mum to Pearl (6) and Poppy (2), Sharon has become even more passionate about encouraging other parents to create healthy, wholesome food for their children. In this mini series with ‘I love cooking’, Sharon shares some of the healthier sweet recipes she treats her kids to.

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You can watch our videos across all of I Love Cooking’s social channels and the longer versions in our Food TVsection or subscribe to our YouTube channel.




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