I asked on our Facebook Page if there was anything our readers were interested in for recipes, one reader BJ, piped up and said “granola bars”. And hey, why not! I love a good bar recipe I went back through TrailCooking and looked at past recipes I have posted. What caught my eye were the “You can make them your way” bars. These have been a popular recipe over the years.
What if I lowered the sugar (they were really, really sweet), made them gluten-free (with no weird ingredients to the average cook), vegan-friendly and they tasted so awesome no one would even guess all these changes had happened? Well, duh, I like a challenge! So yesterday morning, with a break in the weather, I loaded up Walker and Alistaire in the BOB, and walked to town and back. A good 5.5 miles gave me time to think of a new variation. Walking does that for me, it frees my mind and I get fresh air! Although why is it I get so many “You WALKED today?”. Yes, heaven forbid I take the boys out when it is 47° out and they are in warm winter wear, under lap blankets, sitting on faux sheepskin seat liners. You know how fresh air is bad for kids, eh? In their plush, pimped out ride they are riding in luxury while I suffer pushing their butts around 😉
And yeah, I succeeded.
Sarah’s Most Amazing Soft & Chewy Granola Bars
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats or quick cooking (1-minute oats (see below in notes)
- 1 cup oat flour (see below in notes)
- ½ cup Maple Syrup Powder/Maple Sugar
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- ¼ cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
- ¼ cup Date Crumbles
- ¼ cup raisins, preferably organic
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ cup Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, melted
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal + 3 Tbsp cool water
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°, line a 9×13″ glass baking pan with parchment paper, down the middle and up the sides (for easier removal).
Grind the pecans finely.
Stir the oats through sea salt in a large bowl.
Whisk the wet ingredients together, pour over dry and mix well (food grade gloves and your hands make it a snap). Spread in prepared pan, pack down tightly.
Bake for 30 minutes, until golden on the edges. Let cool for 10 to 20 minutes, then cut into desired size of bars, let cool fully before removing and wrapping.
Store in refrigerator (or freezer for long-term storage), for best results, tightly wrapped or in an airtight container.
Oats while technically gluten-free, can be contaminated during growing and processing. If you are avoiding gluten contamination it is very important to buy ones that are gluten-free. I trust Bob’s Red Mill and their product line, they take GF seriously. They carry a vast assortment of GF ingredients (the company store is a fantastic place I might add, to visit, if you are ever near Portland, Oregon). You can source on Amazon Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Quick Cooking Oats.
If on a strict GF diet, you can use regular dates, finely chopped instead.
In the recipe, I call for either old-fashioned or quick-cooking, use which you have on hand. If yours are old-fashioned, whirl them in a food processor or mini-food chopper for a few pulses to break down a bit.
To make oat flour, don’t go looking for it to buy – it is beyond easy to make! Add oats to a dry blender, food processor or mini-food chopper, whirl until powdery. Pretty simple, eh?