Recipes with multiple paragraphs of ingredient substitutions often do not bode well for self-proclaimed decision-making-phobes. But lingering indecisively at the Whole Foods bulk bins for 20 minutes was so worth it.
This recipe is an absolute, will be referencing it weekly, keeper. Having depended on Special K bars throughout college, granola bars were one of the first staples I sought a gluten free replacement for after being diagnosed with Celiac. The hunt didn’t go so well. There are no less than 35 overly processed, overly sweetened, and/or overly nutty granola bars hogging precious real estate in my kitchen cabinets right now. And those are only the ones that were slightly above average enough to be spared a trip to the trashcan.
Thanks to Deb of Smitten Kitchen, I’ve had delicious, chewy granola bars for breakfast, a snack, and dinner. And that’s just today. Arm yourself with the base recipe below, and run with it. For anyone else who can’t make up their mind, ever, I command you follow the ingredients list to a T. You’re welcome.
In similar news, anyone interested in 35 free, possibly expired, gluten free granola bars? Don’t all jump at once.
[Original recipe from Smitten Kitchen]
Ingredients (Makes 9 large bars or 16 smaller bars)
1/3 cup sugar
1 2/3 cup quick cooking gluten free oats
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cinnamon
½ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
¼ cup chopped walnuts
¼ cup sliced almonds
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped dried apricots
1/3 cup peanut flour
6 tbsp olive oil
¼ cup + 2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup peanut butter
Sugar – light or dark brown sugar
Nuts and Fruit – 2-3 cups of any combination of nuts, dried fruit and other dry add-ins (pecans, sunflower seeds, toasted coconut, dried cherries, dried apples, chocolate chips, puffed rice cereal, flax seeds, etc.)
Flour – oat flour (oats finely ground in a food processor), chickpea flour, rice flour, almond flour, etc.
Olive oil – melted butter (or a combination of the two)
Honey – any combination of honey, molasses, maple syrup or corn syrup
Peanut butter – any other nut butter (i.e. almond butter)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper so that the paper hangs over two of the edges. Coat the entire pan with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, mix together all of the dry ingredients – this includes the sugar, oats, salt, cinnamon, nuts, dried fruit, and flour.
In a smaller bowl, whisk together the olive oil, honey, water and vanilla.
Pour the wet ingredients into the larger bowl with the dry ingredients. Use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon to work the wet ingredients into the dry ones, until everything is evenly mixed and moist. Add the peanut butter, and mix once more.
Pour the granola into the greased pan, and spread out the mixture with the spatula or spoon. Spray one side of plastic bag or a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray, and use the oiled surface to pack down the bars as firmly as possible.
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until the edges turn a deep, golden brown. Remove pan from the oven to cool. (You can place the pan in the fridge to speed up this process.) Once the granola bars are completely cool, use the parchment paper ‘handles’ to remove it from the pan. Peel off the parchment, and use a serrated knife to cut the square into 9 large or 16 smaller granola bars.
Store in an airtight container, preferably in the fridge. Will also freeze well.