Chop up dates as small as possible and place them in a large bowl. Add hot water to the dates and stir them around to help break up any large pieces. Sprinkle in the flax or chia seeds and stir again.
Stir in the peanut butter and then the maple syrup.
Add the oats and coconut – and other optional ingredients as desired.
Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Spoon the dough out onto the pan and press it down into a rectangle shape about 1/2 inch thick. (A rolling pin is helpful to really push it together.) Or squeeze the dough into small bite size balls and place them on a sheet pan.
Refrigerate until they have firmed up, about 15 minutes.
Remove bars from pan and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days or freeze.
Recipe based on Minimalist Baker’s Healthy 5-Ingredient Granola Bars