So, I guess I could really title these as gluten-free, wheat-free, nut-free, egg-free, and potentially dairy-free chewy granola bars. But that seemed a little long. I could also add that they are quite low in sugar and could potentially be made with no added sugar at all.
Can you tell I have made some New Years resolutions?
If I could advertise that these granola bars were alcohol-free too, trust me, I’d do it. Because it’s been that kind of a holiday. Which is to say that it was a great holiday. One filled with at least twelve pounds of butter (and I’m not exaggerating), two Christmas celebrations which I hosted — first for my wonderful 20 person strong family and then my husband’s much smaller crew, my daughter’s Christmas birthday celebration, a New Years Eve party, lots of little dinner parties in between, and more filled recycling bins than I would ever confess to.
I seriously should have given the recycling crew a Christmas present. They go around our little circle and spend about 30 seconds at each house taking their two milk containers, nicely bundled newspapers, and a few cans of Diet Coke. They get to my house and they need to call in freaking reinforcements from neighboring counties. As much as it’s cool that my three year old gets to have his own, feature-length recycling truck show, I start self-flagellating just a tad. Which is to say I berate myself without hauling out the ropes and switches.
So, yes, I have made some resolutions. Getting back to normal eating and drinking habits is at the top of the list. But, I’ve also made the decision to eliminate gluten from my diet for a bit. There are a variety of reasons, but I have a hunch it is causing me issues — so I am going to get rid of it for at least a month and see how I feel. I did this once before and I only lasted about four days — and when I lapsed (I baked chocolate chip cookies for the kids and sampled one), I felt lousy, got a headache, and wanted to take a nap. Back in the old days of low carb diets, I always wondered why they made me feel so fantastic (full of energy, less stressed, more rested, with far fewer upset stomachs). Maybe the lack of gluten was the reason. So I am going to do a little experiment and see what happens.
I created these granola bars to have around for a quick breakfast or snack that the kids would enjoy. You could easily remove the butter and substitute with all coconut oil (or dairy-free margarine) if you wanted them to be dairy-free. And if you want to cut all the added sugar out, you could eliminate the honey and use only agave nectar. Feel free to subsitute nuts/seeds/fruit/etc.
And I am going to consider it a little moral victory that there is no booze in this recipe. Much unlike everything else I have made or consumed in the last month. (BTW, Recycling Dudes, I owe you big time.)
Gluten-Free Chewy Granola Bars
Makes about 24 (a 9×13 pan)
2 cups old fashioned oats (make sure they are gluten-free if you are watching)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
3/4 t sea salt
1/2 cup sunbutter (or other nut butter or soy butter)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup agave nectar
3 T butter (replace with either coconut oil or dairy free margarine to make dairy free)
3 T coconut oil
2 t vanilla extract
1 cup dried sour cherries, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a 9 inch by 13 inch glass baking pan. Mix together oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flaxseed, coconut, and salt. Spread onto a sheet pan and bake for 14-15 minutes (stirring every five minutes or so) until the mixture is just golden.
2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan over medium heat, combine sunbutter, honey, agave nectar, butter, coconut oil, and vanilla extract. Whisk together until everything is fully melted, combined, and just beginning to bubble a bit. (about 3 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in dried cherries. Set aside.
3. When oat mixture is golden, remove from oven and pour it into a large mixing bowl. Stir in warm sunbutter mixture and thoroughly combine. Pour into greased pan and pat down completely. Let cool and cut into bars.