Finding a healthy snack isn’t always easy. I have always loved granola bars, but struggle with the fact that many store-bought granola bars overly sweet and full of ingredients that I would rather not have in my food. And it’s so easy to make your own! If you need them to be gluten-free simply ensure that you use wheat-free oats and coconut which are easy to find.
Makes around 20 bars
- 2 1/2 cups large flake oats
- 2 cups shredded coconut, unsweetened
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup chopped or slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
- 1 cup dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
- 1/2 cup pitted dates, chopped
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter or vegan butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons walnut oil (or other oil such as olive oil)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup honey or brown rice syrup
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
- Place the coconut, walnuts or pecans and almonds on a cookie sheet and spread evenly. Toast in the oven, tossing every few minutes, until the coconut is light brown, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool.
- Reduce the temperature to 325 F and line a 10×15″ cookie sheet with parchment paper, leaving extra paper hanging off the sides.
- In a large bowl, combine the oats, pumpkin seeds, dried fruit and cinnamon along with the toasted coconut and nuts mixture.
- In a small saucepan on the stove, combine the butter, oil, sugar, honey or brown rice syrup and salt. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
- Stir the above liquid mixture into the dry oat mixture, ensuring that it is evenly combined and fully incorporated.
- Place this mixture on the prepared cookie sheet and pat down with your hands firmly to make it flat and compressed. You may need to slightly dampen your hands to prevent them from sticking.
- Bake until the bars are golden brown at the edges, about 20-30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool slightly in the pan. When the bars are slightly cooled (but still warm), with slightly damp hands press down firmly on the bars again: you can also use the flat bottom of a glass or measuring cup. This will make it easier to cut and will help the bars stay together.
- Once completely cooled, remove the bars from the pan using the parchment paper as handles and cut into your desired shape with a sharp knife. These freeze well!