16 Snacks that Raise the Bar

June 15, 2015

We're the kind of people who have to eat every three hours, and Pure Leaf Iced Tea is here to help with that.

Today: Bars that raise the bar—from salty to sweet to everything in between. 

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Not all bars are created equal. Some are crumbly and dry—less about the eating and more about the clean-up—while others have the advantage of evoking childhood nostalgia and not much else. We prefer bars that are packed with nuts and oats, drizzled with chocolate, or dessert-worthy and shortbread-crusted. Since bars are customizable and portable, you can make a batch of your favorite kind and snack on them all week long. Here are 16 of our favorites, organized by type: 

Granola is great. 


Granola bars are like breakfast turned into cookies (which is great). They're grab-and-go morning meals that also masquerade as afternoon snack material and energy boosters. Treat granola bars like a blank canvas: Use whatever dried fruit you'd like, swap out seeds, throw in shredded coconut, or add wholesome quinoa


When in doubt, go a little nuts. 


Whether drizzled with dark chocolate or raw and vegan, bars are something to, well, go nuts over. Toast nuts for more flavor depth, use almond butter as a binder, or mix a little coconut with cashews. For a truly decadent, snack-worthy bar, make a peanut butter ice box cake set atop a granola crust and sprinkle it with cocoa-dusted oatmeal. 


Use fruit with finesse. 


Fruit's great and all, but—like most things—it's better with butter. This pairing is best showcased in bars, whether with apricots atop a shortbread crust and covered with oat streusel or Cranberry Newtons made simpler. Go the jam route and pair whatever fruit fits your fancy with rye flour, or cover cherry preserves in a full-crumb top. 


Sweet snacking.


Bar desserts are handheld, portable masterpieces. They're the snack to eat any time of day—even breakfast (because, sometimes, that just needs to happen). Salty-and-sweet fanatics could go for the crispy pretzel peanut butter route. These two-ingredient cookies and cream bars are smooth, yet crunchy. Bake with brown sugar for butterscotch-y bites like these walnut-studded, fudgy gems, or try miso bars that have a little umami and a lot awesome. 

Raw vegan chocolate bars photo by Alpha Smoot, salted dark chocolate nut bars photo by Lindsey S. Love, no-bake toasted coconut, date, and nut bars photo by Jennifer Farley, rye chocolate snow or “jammed” snow bars photo by Mandy @ Lady and pups, cranberry Newton bars photo by fiveandspice, and all others by James Ransom and Mark Weinberg.

This post is brought to you by Pure Leaf Iced Tea.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Ruth Gemperlein
    Ruth Gemperlein
  • Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
    Riddley Gemperlein-Schirm
I fall in love with every sandwich I ever meet.


Ruth G. June 18, 2015
These rock!!
Riddley G. July 15, 2015
They absolutely do!