To make the puffed rice, preheat oven to 200°F/100°C with the fan function on. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper to prevent sticking.
Place rice in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water. Let soak for 5 mins, then drain and spread evenly onto prepared baking sheet.
Dry rice in oven for 50-60 mins, stirring every 15 mins, until completely dry and crispy. Remove from oven and set aside.
Heat frying oil in a medium-sized heavy-bottomed pot to a temperature of ~420°F/215°C.
In small batches, drop the dried rice grains into the hot oil, removing them immediately after they puff up. Place on kitchen paper to remove excess oil and allow to cool. Measure out 1⅓ cups of puffed rice for the granola bar recipe and save the rest for future use.
Heat oven to 350°F/180°C. Spread oats, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 8-10 mins or until they turn slightly golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
In a food processor, combine dates and cashew or sunflower seed butter, processing until mixture forms a smooth ball.
Add toasted oats and seeds, hemp hearts, flaxseeds, puffed rice, vanilla extract, cinnamon, sea salt, and date mixture to a large mixing bowl. Thoroughly knead and mix the ingredients with your hands until they are uniformly dispersed.
Transfer the mixture to an 8×8 dish or another small pan lined with parchment paper for easy removal. Chill in the freezer for 20-30 mins to allow bars to harden.
Once hardened, remove bars from dish and slice them into 8-10 even bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
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