Chunky, Chewy, Nut Free Granola Bars

Granola bars, the ultimate in convenience food, are sneaky little devils.  I expect a package destined for a hiker's pocket to be nutrient and calorie dense, but the bars lining the grocery store shelves are chock full of fat, sugar and allergens.  Occasionally I'll eat one at work, but for the number of calories in that little package, I'd like a little more substance in my tummy.

So I was doubly motivated to create a granola bar recipe that would let my son have a homemade version of another food he can't normally eat and would simply make me happier than the commercial kind.  I wanted one that was thick and chewy, a real meal on the run, with flavors that would convince The Kid (and me!) that this was just another kind of oatmeal cookie.  I tried adding applesauce and spices to increase the moisture and flavor while holding back on the unhealthy stuff.  The result was very dense, very chewy and just what I wanted.

If these bars are a little too on the thick side for you, either cut the recipe in half or spread it out in a 9"x13" pan instead and shorten the bake time.

Chunky, Chewy, Nut Free Granola Bars

1 1/2 C applesauce
½ C Sunbutter (or other nutlike spread, such as tahini or Soy Wonder)
½ C honey  (or agave syrup to make vegan)
¼ C ground flax seed
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
3 C rolled oats (certified gluten free to make…gluten free)
1 C raisins
Shortening or nondairy margarine to grease pan

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease 8”x8” square baking pan.  In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients except oats and raisins over medium heat.   Stir regularly until mixture just begins to bubble, then remove from heat.  Combine warm goo with the oats and raisins, either in a bowl or in the saucepan, if large enough.

Spread mixture into prepared pan and smooth top with a spatula.  Bake for 30 to 35 minutes and until edges begin to brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool COMPLETELY before cutting into squares or bars of the desired size with a serrated knife.  Otherwise, there will be crumblage.  Keep in a sealed container to prevent drying.

I'm sharing my lovely chunks with Wholesome Whole Foods hosted by the Health Food Lover and also with Vegetarian Foodie Friday at Breastfeeding Moms Unite, possibly the original home of the one handed meal!


Michelle (Health Food Lover) said...

Hi Libby!

Thanks so much for linking up to Wholesome Whole Foods!

These nut-free granola bars look a treat and healthy too! They look pretty tasty. I really admire your dedication to bring your family allergen-free food, it's great!

Keep up the great recipes and thanks for linking up.


Anonymous said...

I bet dried cranberries or a dried fruit mixture would be great in there also.

Raising a Sensitive Child said...

Thanks for the recipe. We will definitely try this!

Anonymous said...

Great recipe! I agree with you on industrial granola bars - candy bars with oats I say!

This is similar to a recipe I tooled with last weekend, but I had some molasses in there, too.

Sending email now!

Elizabeth, blogging for SunButter said...

Hi Libby,
Love that these are more chewy. That seems to satisfy more (and our 1st grader has lost most of her front teeth, so these are better for her to handle). Thanks for another terrific recipe.

Brittany said...

How long do these last? Have you ever tried freezing them? Just wondering if I could make a huge batch and store somehow.