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No Bake Gluten Free Granola Bars

No Bake Gluten Free Granola Bars
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No Bake Gluten Free Granola BarsI know. It can be kind of difficult to get too excited about a granola bar recipe. So you’ll forgive me if I trot out the old saw: these are different! And anyway you can trust me when I say that because it’s not like everything we make around here is meant to be “different.” In fact, lots and lots of the recipes that we make are designed to be exactly the same. The same as you remember, before you went gluten free. For crying out loud, I’m in the middle of writing a whole cookbook about recipes that are exactly the same as you remember. See? (By the way I have a preliminary cover for the new book and I’m dying to show it to you but I’m not allowed and it’s killing me softly.) So back to these no bake gluten free granola bars. They’re different. And once you see how incredibly easy they are to make, you’ll be sure to always keep a stash on hand for those crazy busy school mornings when grab-and-go breakfast is all anyone can manage.

No Bake Gluten Free Granola BarsThese granola bars (other than being no bake, which is a nice bonus in the summertime and really any time) are different in a few more ways: (1) They have no nuts—unless you want to add some chopped nuts in place of, say, some of the coconut chips. So if you’re tired of super-nutty granola or just can’t have nuts, these are the granola bars for you. Not to mention that nuts are expensive. (2) They are ready so fast you can’t even believe it. Cooking the brown sugar for about a minute, just until it liquefies and simmers slightly, ensures that everything sticks together super well, and super fast. And anyway speaking of sugar: (3) I have made these bars so many times, in so many slightly different ways and I can proudly report … that you can replace the brown sugar in the recipe with an equal amount, by weight, of coconut palm sugar, a much more nutrient-dense, unrefined sugar.
No Bake Gluten Free Granola BarsThese are the granola bars that I stashed in my purse when we went to pick up my kids from a few weeks of sleepaway camp last week. And I have to choose carefully when I bring them food from home at a time like that. They eat a lot of processed food at camp, something they are not used to for obvious reasons (I’m no supermom, I just cook and bake for a living—you understand), and they do not like it. As my husband says, when they first come home, they’re pretty “food angry.” I’m happy to report that these highly portable, nearly nonperishable, on-the-healthy-side no bake granola bars went over very well with all 3 of my children. High fives all around!

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Prep time: Cook time: Yield: 12 bars

Ingredients

2 cups (200 g) certified gluten free old fashioned rolled oats

1/2 cup (60 g) certified gluten free oat flour (I just processed old fashioned rolled oats into flour in a blender or food processor)

2 cups (60 g) gluten free crisp rice cereal (like Erewhon brown rice cereal)

1/2 cup (40 g) unsweetened coconut chips (large flakes)

4 tablespoons (56 g) virgin coconut oil

1 cup (218 g) packed light brown sugar (can use an equal amount, by weight, of coconut palm sugar (an unrefined sugar))

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 cup (168 g) honey

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  • Line an 8-inch square baking dish with crisscrossed sheets of unbleached parchment paper, with the paper overhanging all 4 sides of the dish, and set it aside. In a large bowl, place the rolled oats, oat flour, rice cereal and coconut chips, and mix to combine well. Set the bowl aside.

  • In a medium-size heavy-bottom saucepan, place the coconut oil, brown sugar (or coconut palm sugar) and salt, and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture liquifies and comes to a simmer. Cook, undisturbed, for 45 seconds more, and then remove from the heat. Add the honey and vanilla, stirring constantly until the mixture stops bubbling. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, until no longer hot to the touch. Create a well in the center of the dry ingredients in the large bowl, pour in the warm sugar mixture and mix throughly, working quickly to prevent the warm sugar from sticking to the bottom of the bowl. Continue to mix until all of the dry ingredients have been absorbed into the mixture.

  • Transfer to the prepared baking dish and press very firmly into an even layer. Allow to sit at room temperature until cool and set before lifting out the bars by the overhung pieces of parchment paper. To speed the cooling and setting process, you can place the baking dish in the refrigerator. Place the bars on a cutting board and, using a large, sharp knife, cut into 12 rectangles. Wrap each bar separately and store at room temperature until ready to serve.

Love,
Me

 

P.S. Which Gluten-Free on a Shoestring cookbooks do you have? There are 3! I hope you’ll consider picking them up today!!

  • Rene

    These look amazing. Do you think I could put them in the dehydrator or are they not really sticky at all? thanks

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      You could give it a shot, Rene. I don’t have a dehydrator so I haven’t tested that but they’re not really overly sticky.

  • Lucy

    We are taking the girls camping in 4 days, was gonna make granola bars… of course you knew that!
    Teddy Nanny Cam strikes again :)

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      Oh these are absolutely perfect for camping, Lucy! Make a bunch. :)

  • Mare Masterson

    Perfect timing on this one–yet again! Going away this weekend and want easy food to take for breakfast and snacks. I have to add nuts though…pecans most likely…because I love them! I am going to try it with dates in place of the brown sugar. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      I don’t know about dates in place of brown sugar here, Mare. That’s quite a change. I’d really recommend trying coconut palm sugar if you want something unrefined in place of brown sugar.

  • Lady Madonna

    Can I use maple syrup instead of honey

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      Maple syrup is thinner than honey, Lady, so I wouldn’t recommend that. You could try reducing the maple syrup to the same viscosity as honey and then using it.

  • anna

    These are exactly what i was looking for! Simple. Does the coconut oil leave much scent/flavor? I have a jar but i cant bring myself to use it on stuff because i dont like how it smells. Im not sure what, if anything, would be a good replacement for it in these.

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      Hi, anna, I don’t find that it imparts much coconut flavor at all, but if you are at all concerned and really don’t like it, you can definitely use Spectrum nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening 1:1.

    • tanyasweetsue

      anna, use expeller pressed coconut oil. It doesn’t smell or taste like coconut oil. I think you must have cold pressed which does taste and smell coconutty

  • Janell

    My daughters boyfriend is allergic to nuts, and is looking for a nut free protein bar. Do you think it would work to add in some protein powder to this recipe?

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      I haven’t tried this with any more additions, but a protein powder is going to change the moisture balance. Feel free to experiment, Janell!

  • Kat

    Any suggestion for replacing oats?

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      I would recommend googling a Paleo granola recipe, Kat. Rolled oats are the foundation of and most plentiful ingredient in these bars. Sorry!

  • Cher

    These look so good and quick and NO NUTS! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I will be trying these very soon!

  • Jennifer Crump

    I dislike the texture of raw coconut, is there something I could add? You made mention that I could sub nuts, but how much?

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      Have you ever tried coconut flakes, Jennifer? I dislike to texture of bagged shredded coconut. In fact, I dislike it a whole lot. I’ll leave it at that in deference to any reader who love it! But coconut chips are nothing like shredded coconut. If you’d like to try those, they’re wide, flat pieces of coconut (as you can see in the step by step photos above) and taste nothing like the shredded kind. If you’d like to sub in something else, feel free to experiment with the same amount of nuts by weight. I haven’t tried that, though, so I can’t promise it will turn out.

  • Kristina

    Those look scrumptious! I make granola bars nearly every two weeks and my recipe is similar except that I do bake them. Also, mine has nearly 1 cup more oil than yours (I use half butter/half coconut oil) but also only 1/3 cup of brown sugar to your 1 full cup. Now I’m curious what difference more sugar vs more butter would make. Any thoughts?

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      1 cup more oil is a lot of oil, Kristina! Feel free to experiment, but that sounds like it would yield greasy bars.

      • Kristina

        You’re right! LOL! Sorry, I posted early in the morning and I wasn’t fully awake – I meant 1/2 cup more oil. My recipe: 3/4 cup butter, 1/2 cup honey, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla, 1 cup flour, 4 cups oatmeal, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 cup of add-ins. Plus it’s baked in a 9 x 13 pan, so they’re flatter than yours. I will try out your recipe for the next batch!!

  • Brian Westphal

    These look really good. I’m the one who is gluten free so it doesn’t matter that the kids don’t like coconut. I picked up all three books and they are great.

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      Thank you, Brian! And my kids love coconut chips, but we all don’t care for shredded coconut. If they haven’t tried coconut chips yet, it might be worth a shot!

  • Michelle

    I tried to make the granola bars you posted on your blog last night and I couldn’t get past melting the brown sugar. I have cooked all my life and used to teach at a college before my recent move, so I am not a newbie at this. At any rate, when I melt the brown sugar it just clumps and hardens, it never really melts into a liquid. I tried using a new bag of brown sugar, I tried adding the coconut oil first, then I tried adding it after words. It never blended together and I tried using a whisk. Nothing worked and I ruined two batches of that. Thankfully, I never added it to anything else so I didn’t waste everything. Any suggestions as to why this is happening and how I can fix it?
    Thanks!

    • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

      Hi, Michelle, I understand that it can be frustrating when a recipe doesn’t turn out. I have made these at least half a dozen times, so I know that the recipe will turn out. My guess is that your heat was too high and/or that your pot doesn’t have a heavy bottom and doesn’t conduct heat very well so the sugar burned. I would turn down the flame and go slower. You’ll get there!

      • Michelle

        I had considered that and the second attempt it took me almost a half hour to try and melt it, it did better, but still would not fully incorporate with the oil and then burned. Any other ideas? I tried to attach a picture, but wasn’t able to do that either. :(

        • http://glutenfreeonashoestring.com/ Nicole Hunn

          My only other idea, Michelle, is to stir instead of leaving the mixture undisturbed. It may seem that the mixture has separated, but it doesn’t matter. Just mix it all in when you add it to the dry ingredients.

  • jennifer

    Hi. I am new to gf and to this blog. Is there any good substitute for the coconut in the granola bars? I am learning I now have to carry food for myself when we go to functions, but I am not a fan of coconut. As I am new to all this, other suggestions on portable food would be great. Thanks.

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