Gluten-Free Chewy Granola Bars

Gluten-Free Chewy Granola Bars

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.



17 Responses to “Gluten-Free Chewy Granola Bars”

  1. Celeste says:

    This sounds great. I have been experimenting with fruit purees instead of most of the oil and using brown rice syrup instead of sugar–the granola is very good, but not at all chewy. I will give these a try for some variety!

  2. Annie Taylor says:

    Love the goal! These do sound really yummy…and Cole gave you a high “taste” rating, so I’ve got to try them for our household! I might sub in dried cranberries…will add sugar, I know, but I’m not sure I’m a cherry fan. Or I could be adventurous and try them as-is ;-)

  3. Kristin says:

    Annie … cranberries would be great and I would have used them had they been in the pantry!

  4. Annie Taylor says:

    Phew!! OK…I’ll give them a go! BTW, this blog is GREAT!!!!!

  5. Sam says:

    Oh, how I love you. Have been looking for a homemade, healthy alternative to the packaged ‘granola’ (uh, might as well call them ‘candy’) bars out there. This will make an excellent project for the girlie and me over the next few days of cold & snow.

  6. Eatmytortes says:

    I love this kind of thing! My mother used to make a soft oat cake/biscuit similar to this when I was a kid and we were crazy about it.

  7. b. says:

    these look + sound delicious….similar to my favorite kashi granola bar. i’ve been wanting to try a gluten-free lifestyle for a while, mainly out of curiosity of how it would affect my body.
    however, honestly, the best thing we can all do is to get rid of artificial sweeteners. they are practically toxic. regular grocery store dried cherries have 27g of sugar per serving. you might as well be eating candy. also, i’ve recently heard that honey and agave, contrary to popular belief, are not healthy at all.
    honey rots teeth a hundred times faster than white sugar, and agave is apparently no better than straight glucose? i was mortified to learn all of this, seeing as how i’ve been avoiding sugar and subbing honey and agave in everything, convinced i was doing something good.
    if you’re curious, check out mercola.com

  8. Kristin says:

    B. — I agree… the sweetener thing is a conundrum. I have tried primarily just to cut back on the amount of sweetener in everything. And I did use agave for a lot of things and then saw the same things you are saying. So I have not been using it as much — however, I think it’s all a moderation thing. Part of the reason why I used a small amount of agave and honey. So I guess feel free to use all honey, all agave, a mix, sugar, brown sugar, or (like Celeste mentions) brown rice syrup. (Just make sure you dissolve any granular sugars completely in the sunbutter mixture.) Let me know how they turn out.

  9. Mary says:

    Great blog–just a quick comment about gluten. PLEASE do not go off of it w/o first getting tested for celiac disease. For the test, you must be eating gluten and if you feel better not eating it, you won’t want to eat it for at least 6 weeks b/f the test.

    Speaking from experience.
    There is a support group in State College if you’re interested.

  10. Michele says:

    Mary–Just curious, why do you suggest not going off of it before getting tested? I’ve been cutting way back on gluten (i cheat, especially over the holidays and when someone sticks a piece of fresh Gemelli bread under my nose) because of sinus issues. The tweak in my diet has made an amazing difference, but I sometimes worry if I I’m contributing to some kind of nutritional deficiency in my body. And I’m curious about the support group. I’m the co-founder of HomegrownHappyValley.org and I’m working on a post about living gluten-free in State College. Would love to mention how people can find the group.

  11. Mary says:

    Hi Michele,

    I think my original reply never got posted b/c I had to go attend to my son. You MUST be eating a certain amount of gluten (to do damage to the villi in your intestines) for the biopsy or blood tests to regester gluten intolerance. The SC support group is meeting this Wed at the Mt. Nittany hospital conf. room 3 at 7 pm. They have a yahoo group: StateCollegeCeliacSupport. Hope this helps & maybe I’ll see you there. Mary

  12. beth says:

    I’ve made these and love them…but I have two questions (I want to send this recipe onto someone who is cutting sugar out entirely of her diet). 1) What can I use to sub dried sour cherries if they are hard to find (and cranberries and raisins are high in sugar) 2) Do you think these could be made without any sugary ingredient at all?

  13. Kristin says:

    You could leave the fruit out altogether … or maybe chunks of dehydrated granny smith apple? As far as cutting the sugar completely, you could try the same recipe just skipping the honey/agave … or they might try mixing in two egg whites with the mixture (at the end — so they don’t cook with the melted ingredients). I’d have to play around with it, but if you (or they) do, let me know!

  14. Vanessa H says:

    Thanks for the recipe. I have made it several times now and it works great as a bar or crumbled as a granola. Thanks for the site.

  15. Deirdre says:

    HI.
    My two cents worth re the sugar issue. I haven’t been to the Mercola site, but I do know that agave is right up there with high fructose corn syrup (and not entirely sure why either). I was just as stunned as the rest of you are. Second, honey…hmmm not sure about the tooth rotting thing but will be after visiting the site mentioned. As far as a sugar replacement goes, I’ve have brilliant sucess with Xylitol, which is made from birch trees and corn cobs. It is a proven cavity fighter and antibacterial. Anyway…thats what I’ve been using and yes great sucess with it. Measure for measure it compares to sugar. It is totally acceptable for those on a sugar reduced diet. It metabolizes without insulin so it creats a significantly lower glycemic effect when eaten…so this is a natural gift to those with diabetes. Hope this helps.

  16. M. Charlot says:

    I loved granola bars especially with chocolate. I used to buy them. Let me try making them this weekend. Thanks for the recipe. How long can you store them?

  17. Thanks for the post. I was thinking of substituting apple sauce for the agave and honey. I suppose the honey acts as a binder
    but I’ll try and see what happens.

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