Homemade Granola Bars

DSC_1137-001

I always seem to surround myself with people who I refer to as planners.  You know the type.  They don’t leave home without a to-do list, they schedule vacations a year in advance, and their Christmas shopping is completed well before November 1.  I don’t know about you, but if I’m ever going to take a cross-country road trip in a snow storm, I’m riding with them.
Flashlights? Check.  Extra clothing? Check.  First aid kit complete with groovy metallic “space” blanket?  Check.  These friends think of everything in impressive detail and it comforts me.

So I guess I don’t exactly need to state the obvious.  I am NOT a planner.  I’ve always tra-la-la’ed out the door under-hydrated, without a proper jacket, and on the edge of hunger.  Never a good thing.

Having to live gluten-free and with a child with multiple food allergies has forced me to become a planner.  I admit that in the beginning there was some kicking and screaming, but it does get easier.  I now know that our health depends on taking the extra time to be prepared.  If we get hungry on the road, or because soccer practice runs late, we must have provisions.

Recently I’ve spent some time thinking about what helps people successfully transition to gluten-free living and I know that it’s just this.  Be prepared.  Have a plan.  Carry snacks…..and lots of them.

In a snowstorm, these granola bars have got your back.

Homemade Granola Bars

  • 2 1/2 cups oats (gluten-free certified)*
  • 1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup ground flax (I use “golden flax”)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit of choice (I usually do a mix of cherries and raisins)
  • 2/3 cup chocolate chips or chocolate chunks (Enjoy Life Mega Chunks are good for corn-free bakers)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted (butter will work too if you eat dairy)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar

* If you are on a gluten-free diet please double check with your doctor before consuming oats.  Even gluten-free certified ones can cause tummy troubles for some.

Notes:  If you can’t find quinoa flakes, feel free to substitute them with a ½ cup of any of the following: sliced almonds, pumpkin seeds, or additional oats.  Use this recipe as a general formula, plugging in your favorite items and combinations.  Just make sure to keep the same ratio of “dry” ingredients to “wet” ingredients.  For instance, if you want to skip the chocolate, you can add 2/3 cup nuts or additional dried fruit instead.  Have fun and invent your family favorite!

→ Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.  Line a 9X12 inch pan with parchment, allowing the edges to hang over (so that you will have “handles” when you lift the cooled granola bars out of the pan later).

→ In the bowl of your electric mixer (fitted with paddle attachment) place the oats, coconut, quinoa flakes, ground flax, sea salt, and cinnamon.  Mix on lowest speed for about 1 minute or until thoroughly combined.

→ Add the melted coconut oil, honey and brown sugar.  Mix for 1-2 minutes on low speed or until the dry ingredients are well coated with the honey and oil.

→ Add the dried fruit and chocolate and mix on low until evenly distributed.

→ Scrape the granola bar mixture out into the center of the lined sheet pan:

DSC_1143-001→ Working with wet hands (I work near my sink) firmly press the granola mixture until it is a tight, even layer.  Make sure to keep an even thickness and press all the way to the edges and into the corners. Leave the extra parchment so that you have a good way to lift the baked bars out of the pan.

Like this:

DSC_1154→ Bake the granola bars in the center of the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  This is what mine look like when they are done baking:

DSC_1159→ Allow the bars to cool for 2 hours (don’t rush this part!) in the pan.  Then lift the slab out onto a cutting board and using a serrated knife cut the bars into your desired shapes and sizes. To get neat bars and to avoid shattering, score the bars with a knife first.  Continue to run the knife through the scored grooves until they will almost snap apart by hand.

→ Store in a heavy duty ziploc bag in the freezer.

10 thoughts on “Homemade Granola Bars

  1. YUM! Your homemade granola bars look so healthy and delicious. I love to make to-do list, but not sure if I can actually follow everything…but the list makes me relieved. lol. I used to be better at completing tasks in efficient manner, but with the kids around, my list is just a guideline…:)

    • Thanks Nami. They are so delicious that most people wouldn’t even realize they are healthy too! Yes, I agree, to-do lists do allow us to have a certain level of relief because then we don’t have to worry about FORGETTING! Haha!

  2. Your instructions say to store in the freezer, what happens to the bars if they’re brought back to room temperature….such as in a lunch bag? Do they stay together or will they fall apart?? I want to make these, but they would seldom be frozen when I eat them, chilled maybe, but not frozen.

    • Hi Melissa, You may also store them at room temperature in an air-tight container (for a few days) if you like. I only freeze them to preserve long term freshness. I find that it is a big batch, so we don’t go through them fast enough to keep them out. I just remove them from the freezer, toss in a bag and then eat when they are defrosted. It doesn’t take long for them to come to room temperature. They will not fall apart when they defrost. I’m with you, I wouldn’t want to eat them frozen, in fact, it could be hazardous to one’s teeth! Best, Terris

  3. Thanks for your quick reply! I made these today but used quinoa flakes for the oats, and Perky’s Crunchy Flax cereal for the 1/2 cup of quinoa flakes listed in the recipe. I don’t use a lot of honey so I subbed 50/50 of Coconut Nectar and maple syrup. They turned out so yummy – the sweetness level was perfect! I wasn’t sure if they were going to be crunchy or chewy bars, but they are more like a crunchy granola bar. Great with a cup of almond milk! After I was done cutting them, all of the crumbles left on the cutting board I gathered up and saved to sprinkly on top of my almond yogurt! Mmmmmm….I’ll be making these again! Thanks for the super easy and yummy recipe!

    • Great news! Your version sounds perfect. That’s one thing that I love about this recipe…it is quite adaptable and sometimes I just throw in what I have around. A perfect way to clean up the cabinets!

  4. Have you ever made these with any type of nut butter? If so, how? I’m picturing a peanutbutter chocolate chip….. but I’m not sure if the nut butter would substitute for part of the liquid sweetener or ???? I don’t know. But I’m hopeful you have an idea!

    • Hi Melissa,
      I actually do make these with sunflower seed butter or almond butter sometimes…depending on what I’m in the mood for. Since nut or seed butters have a lot of fat, I would reduce the amount of coconut oil (this oil binds the best because it is solid at room temperature) to around 1/4 cup and add about 1/4 cup of your peanut butter, or whatever you want to use. I just wing it and don’t have a recipe I’ve written down, so I’m hesitant to give you exact measurements and then have something go wrong. I would also probably reduce the honey by a couple of tablespoons too, particularly if your peanut butter has any cane sugar added. Perhaps I will add a nut/seed butter version to the recipe sometime soon!

  5. I just made these and mine turned out looking like they’re going to be a little chewy. I used rolled oats, do you think that’s why? There’s still about a half hour left in the cooling, but I don’t think mine are going to “snap” apart.

Leave a Reply