I’m not the sort of mom who has a variety of neatly cut up, ready to go fruits and veggies in tidily stacked and labelled containers in the fridge. Ever. I’m the mom who feeds my kids fruits and veggies at home, but who wants convenience when we’re getting ready to hit the road.
My kids love granola bars. Those chewy, sugar laden bars, packed with artificial whatnots and wrapped in a sort of foil like cellophane. We’ve bought them because they’re easy. They travel well. They fill a hole quickly, if not effectively. And they can be found in peanut-free flavours. Easy peasy.
But I’ve recently found that making homemade, nut-free granola bars is even more simple. Like crazy simple. Like I’m going to teach the kids to make these on their own simple. These bars hold together beautifully, are full of real, wholesome ingredients, pack a punch of fibre, protein and healthy fat, and fill that hole better than commercially processed snacks ever could.
And the possibilities are endless. We prefer chocolate chip, but you could use dried fruit, other chips and yes, even nuts. Coconut and dried cherries would be awesome. Add spices. Drizzle the tops with chocolate. Substitute ground flax or chia seeds for the bran. Use your favourite gluten free flour. The sky is the limit with these babies. If you want them to be less chewy, cut the oil down by half.
Chewy Nut-free Granola Bars
Makes 8 bars
1/4 cup coconut oil (I use the refined stuff, which has no flavour, but you can use the regular stuff, or even butter or another healthy oil)
1/4 cup honey
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup quick cooking oats (not instant)
1/2 cup coconut palm (or regular brown) sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unflavoured/unsweetened protein powder (I used whey) – optional
1/4 cup bran
1/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Generous handful or two of add ins – dried fruit, chocolate chips, seeds, nuts, etc…
Preheat the oven to 325F and grease an 8×8 pan.
In a small pot over low heat, melt the coconut oil with the honey and vanilla until liquefied. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, except the add-ins, breaking up any lumps in the sugar. Stir in the oil and honey mixture. Combine with a spatula and then stir in your chosen add ins. Not too much, or the bars won’t hold together.
Press the mixture firmly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned. Cool completely and cut into bars. Drizzle with melted chocolate, if desired (though they won’t wrap as neatly).
Wrapped tightly, these keep for a week.