Back to school? Back to work? These granola bars are sure too satisfy that afternoon plunge (or trip to the vending machine). Energize your afternoon with healthy nuts and dried fruit. These bars are gluten-free (if you use gluten-free oats), and do not have any refined sugar. Just a touch of honey or maple syrup. They are a winner at our house!
Why make these granola bars?
- store-bought granola bars are loaded with refined sugars, and are highly processed, you may as well eat a candy bar (no don’t!)
- long-lasting energy, won’t spike blood sugar levels*
- not too sweet, and will satisfy any sweet tooth!
- guilt-free snacking, for you and the kiddos
Let’s talk ingredients
- Oats: heart-healthy soluble fiber
- Almonds: loaded with nutrients and are quite filling
- Millet: rich in dietary fiber, plus they’re cute and add a great crunch!
- Honey: just a touch of sweet, get the local stuff!
- Dried fruits: a good source of potassium and fiber, plus naturally sweet
- Hazelnut oil: A healthy oil, made with hazelnuts grown in the midwest. If you are so inclined, read about this amazing, nutty, and healthy oil by American Hazelnut Co.
Grab and go! You’ll be able to munch on these all week long, they have staying power!
- 2 cups (270g) oats
- 1 1/2 cup (150g) sliced almonds (or chopped pecans)
- 1/2 cup (100g) millet
- 1/2 cup (75g ) pepitas (or sunflower seeds)
- 1/2 cup (25g) wheat bran (or flax)
- 1/4 cup toasted walnut oil, (hazelnut oil or melted butter)
- 1/2 cup (182g) honey (or maple syrup if you prefer)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Good pinch of kosher salt
- 3/4 cup (120g or 4 oz.) pitted dates, chopped
- 1/2 cup (70g or 3 oz.) dried apricots, chopped
- 1/2 cup (95g or 3 1/2 oz.) dried cherries, chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8x 8″ baking pan with cooking spray (or you could line with parchment paper ).
2. Add the oats, almonds, and wheat bran/flax together on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned and smelling a bit nutty. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
3. Meanwhile, add the oil (or butter), honey (or maple syrup), vanilla, and salt to the mixing bowl, mix well. Add the toasted oat mixture, millet and dates, apricots, and cherries and stir well.
4. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Firmly press (see the photo* of what not to do) the mixture evenly into the pan. You can use the bottom of a glass, or metal measuring cup to get a nice flat surface. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Let sit for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. Cool a few hours before cutting into squares.
5. Store in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks. These freeze well too!
*If you don’t press the mixture into the pan, it comes out a bit crumbly, okay, very crumbling. Do as I say, not as I do! 🙂
Any combination of dried fruit will work here, experiment! Try adding some mini chocolate chips to the top before baking for more of a ‘treat’ granola bar.
Keywords: gluten-free granola bars, no refined sugar granola bars, not too sweet granola bars, nutty granola bars, healthy snacks