Okay… I had no idea the email that would ensue after the mere mention of granola bars in my kitchen.
Really. Mark me clueless.
However, I probably shouldn’t have been. I searched far and wide for a granola bar that met my gluten-free lifestyle to no avail for many years. Granted I have now fallen in love with Mrs.May’s (especially the Cashew Crunch and the Fruit and Nut bars. All Gluten free, of course as well as all natural… and yummy!).
Granola bars, however, are a bit different.
If I dare say, granola is a bit personal too.Some like it crunchy.
Others prefer chewy.
Some like coconut.
Others would rather climb a coconut tree than eat it in their granola.
Some love fruit.
Others prefer chocolate chips.
Some like it sweet.
Others prefer it salty.
I could go on here, huh? I won’t. I promise.
Instead, let me just tell you this. I prefer my granola to be somewhat chewy with a small hint of crunch (usually from a nut… but sometimes from the grain/cereal). I prefer my granola to be on the sweet side too.
And peanut butter? Oh dear me. My love of peanut butter is definitely genetic. I distinctly remember watching my dad dig a huge soup spoon into the peanut butter jar and extract the largest mound of peanut butter that could possibly fit and jam it into his mouth. This was followed quickly by a slight moan of delight and a sticky-gooey peanut butter smile across his lips.
Now, I have never gone so far as to fill my mouth with so much peanut butter that I could breathe (or smile…… DAD!). However, nothing does my upset tummy any better than a piece of toast smeared with a little peanut butter. I am my father’s daughter, after all.
When I finally got the courage to make granola 6 years ago, I realized how stinkin’ easy it really is. There is no secret – just a million variations. These variations sometimes overwhelmed me as I just wanted a simple recipe. So I made one up. What the heck, I thought, can screw it up too badly, huh?
And indeed, I didn’t. In fact, it’s become a staple around here. The variations come only as the ingredients wax and wane from my pantry shelves. Below you will find the basis for two types of granola bars (my on-the-go breakfast during the work week). However, please know that in recent weeks (months?), my fellow gluten-free bloggers have been making granola of their own. Play around with the recipes and you will most certainly come up with one you LOVE as well.
- Dianne, at Gluten-Free Journey, made a granola – a HEALTHY granola – to make your heart happy and your tummy satisfied. Love that, Dianne. Wish she was my neighbor and we could swap breakfast granolas. I’ll make a batch, she can make a batch, then split it. What do ya say, Dianne? Moving overseas someday soon?
- Natalie at Gluten-Free Mommy will tempt you with her granola with -gasp – chocolate chips! Granola from Paris, nonetheless. Dreamy.
- Sheltie-Girl at Gluten-A-Go-Go posted a granola last spring with agave nectar. Agave is deliciou (usually substituted in for honey or sugar with a lower glycemic index). Test out her “Berries and Cherries Granola” too.
- Aylena at Gluten-Free South Africa has a delicious looking recipe for granola too. Her’s calls for soy flakes…. which make me so super curious I scour the shelves at the local co-ops hopeful for their arrival.
- Cris at Red Dirt Girl has a yummy looking granola breakfast cereal recipe too. Oh! Life is good! (And Cris- welcome to the PNW -Granola-ville at it’s best, I swear! LOL)
- Did you post a granola recipe on your blog and I missed it? PLEASE – let me know! I didn’t have a chance to gather all of my links before life took over and rushed me along again. Please drop me a comment or an email so I can link to your recipes as well.
Here’s my recipe for granola bars. Have no worries – it’s done in a flash (the longest time is waiting for it to cool- which is a necessary step – sorry!). Jump in to granola-land! You’ll love it!
Gluten Free Peanut Butter Granola Bars
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter (creamy or crunchy) or almond butter (if you want to make almond granola bars)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups granola base
2 cups nuts/seeds
1 cup dried fruit
GRANOLA BASE could be:
- Gluten free oats (toasted)
- Gluten free cereal (like Maple Buckwheat Flakes OR Nutty Flax, etc)
- 1.5 cups gluten free oats/cereal + 1/2 cup shredded coconut
NUTS/SEED combinations could be any combination of the following:
- Pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
- Pine nuts
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Flax seeds
DRIED FRUIT can be any combination (or single fruit) of the following:
- Dried cherries
- Dried blueberries
- Dried cranberries (like Craisins, if you want sweet ones)
- Dried apricots (chopped into small pieces)
- Dried dates (chopped into small pieces)
- Dried figs (chopped into small pieces)
- Prunes (chopped)
- Butter an 8 X 10 inch pan generously OR line it with parchment paper than also comes up the sides of the pan about 1/2 of an inch.
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Toast your nuts/seeds in the oven for a few minutes until slightly golden. While you are doing this, make your “granola glue” or peanut butter sauce.
- To make the “granola glue” or peanut butter sauce, combine honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Heat, while stirring, until the brown sugar dissolves. Bring mixture to a simmer and simmer for 1-2 minutes until evenly foamy/bubbly on top. Remove from the heat. Add one teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir (it will steam a bit). Add peanut butter and stir briskly until lumps are gone and the consistency is uniform.
- Mix granola base (oats or cereal) with your toasted nuts/seeds. Pour peanut butter mixture over the top and stir until evenly distributed. Add dried fruit and stir again to distribute.
- Pour mixture into pan (on to parchment paper). Spread evenly and then press down in to the bottom of the pan. Press the granola together firmly.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350F.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely (it will firm up as it cools) before cutting.
- Cut into bars (1″ wide and 4″ long). Wrap bars in cling wrap or wax paper and store in a Ziploc bag or airtight container on the counter until consumed. (I’ve store mine up to 10 days, but it depends on the weather.) These can be refrigerated; however, I haven’t tried freezing them yet.
Happy GF Eating!