Nut-Free Basic Chewy Granola Bars

This the perfect basic chewy granola bar: nicely compact, chewy but with a certain crunchiness, and sweet without being cloying. The flavor and texture reminds me of Quaker Granola Bars.

They are nut-free (provided coconut doesn’t count as a nut, and, if it does, you could leave out the dried coconut and use another oil). You could always add chocolate chips or drizzle with melted chocolate. (Update: I tried these with nuts added. Without nuts is better. A little sliced almond is unobtrusive and nice, but large pieces of whole almonds and pecans I didn’t like so much.)

Granola Bars
A very basic chewy granola bar that you could change around by adding chocolate chips, dried fruit, seeds or nuts. I really like the Log Cagin Natural syrup for this. If you can get this syrup–a combination of brown sugar and brown rice syrup plus a little maple syrup–try it for this recipe.

If you just want crunchy granola, you can stop after making the first part of the recipe. It is a not-too-sweet, light textured, clumpy granola that is fantastic by itself. If you are making this as granola, leave out the flour for a light textured granola, or leave it in for a denser, heavier granola.

First, make granola. Mix together on a parchment lined sheet pan:
2 cups oats
1/2 cup dried coconut
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (instead of adding the flour at this point, you could add it in the second half of the recipe, which makes for a chewier bar, I think)
6 Tbl. syrup (I used Log Cabin Natural, which is maple syrup, brown sugar and brown rice syrup, but you could use all maple or honey) (update: honey is fine, but I prefer the maple flavor of the Log Cabin Natural)
2-3 Tbl. coconut oil (another oil is okay, and butter would be yummy, but I love coconut oil)
1/4 tsp. salt, optional (if you are making this as granola, and you are using the flour, add the salt)

Spread out on the baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees 35-45 minutes (I took it out at 35 minutes, when it was not completely crisp, but a light golden brown and already crisp in some places). If you are making this as granola and not proceeding to the rest of the recipe, you might need to leave it in the oven for as much as 50 minutes. Let the mixture cool ever so slightly while you gather the rest of your ingredients for the bars.

Crumble the oat mixture and mix it up with the following:
(you can add the 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour at this point if you haven’t added it in the first half of the recipe–I think it makes for a slightly chewier bar to add it at this point)
2 cups puffed rice cereal (like Rice Crispies)
1/3-1/2 cup syrup (I used more Log Cabin Natural, but brown rice syrup or corn syrup would be fine)(Update: if you can’t get the Log Cabin and you want the sticky texture of rice crispy treats, use a mix of corn syrup and brown sugar, enough to make 1/2 cup of syrup)(More syrup means more chewey, especially if you bake for less time; less syrup and longer baking results in crispier bars)

Spread the mixture out on the parchment lined sheet (which should be nicely greased at this point from the coconut oil you added earlier in making the granola). Shape it into a 9″x9″ square. Square off the edges and even the thickness on the top. Press down to compact and firm up the square shape. To even the thickness and compact it down, it helps to cover the granola with another sheet of parchment and then press down on top using a heavy pan. Remove the top sheet of parchment before baking. If you are having problems getting it to all hold together, you probably need a little more syrup or a little more elbow grease in compacting down into a firm square. Or both.

Bake the granola square at 275 degrees for another 15-20 minutes (the lesser amount of time results in chewier bars). The top will be firm and golden brown, but there will be some give when you press down. Let the granola square mostly cool. When it is ever so slightly warm, but mostly cooled off, you can use a large serrated bread knife to cut it into 12 bars. Cut 6 strips that are 1 1/2″ wide and 9″ long. Cut the long bars in half to make 12 bars that are 1 1/2″ by 4 1/2″.

Variations: you can press chocolate chips on top before baking.

Chewey-Gooey Like Rice Crispy Treats Version: Add the the flour to the first part of the recipe (the granola), use whatever syrup you like (I used honey, which is fine, but I think I prefer the brown sugar maple flavor of the Log Cabin Natural), and for the second part of the recipe, use a mix of brown sugar and corn syrup (1/4-1/3 cup corn syrup and enough brown sugar to make 1/2 cup syrup. Bake for only 10-15 minutes.

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13 Responses to “Nut-Free Basic Chewy Granola Bars”

  1. Mrs. S. Says:

    I really like Quaker Granola Bars, but they’re very expensive here. These look like a great alternative. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  2. Tali Simon @ More Quiche, Please Says:

    So glad to see this! I’d been wanting a granola bar recipe, and since this doesn’t call for nuts (= expensive), it’s perfect. I think I’ll make choc chip for my husband and raisin/craisin for myself.

  3. Tali Simon @ More Quiche, Please Says:

    At risk of dominating this comment page, I wanted to tell you that I made my first batch of these today, and they were an immediate success. I drizzled chocolate on top to jazz them up and even managed to eke out 16 bars! Thanks again for this post.

    • Laura Says:

      Don’t worry about dominating the comment page . . . I actually was thinking about you when I made them.
      I’m so glad to know that they worked out for you.

      • Tali Simon @ More Quiche, Please Says:

        How do you suggest storing them?

      • pragmaticattic Says:

        Ahhh . . . good question! My first batch disappeared so fast storage wasn’t an issue. With later batches, I stored the bars in an airtight container at room temperature and found that chewy batches eventually got crispy, as the moisture dried out.

        This is only a problem if you want to preserve the chewiness for a few days. If you don’t mind them being crispy, or if you eat them up in a couple of days, it isn’t a problem.

        I’m not sure what the solution is–maybe wrapping each bar tightly in plastic? Freezing them? I just don’t know.

        I think that the commercial bars use glycerin to preserve moistness. Wilton makes a kosher glycerine, but I haven’t experimented with that yet. Maybe adding oil to the sugar syrup would help?

        ________________________________

      • Tali Simon @ More Quiche, Please Says:

        Thanks for all the ideas. Ordinarily, storage wouldn’t be an issue for me, either, but I baked a LOT yesterday. I think I’m going to keep them in a pyrex container until Shabbos and then stick in the fridge…and then hope for the best!

      • pragmaticattic Says:

        The worst that will happen is that they will get crispier. They taste good this way too (and you can use crumbled bars as granola cereal). I ate a leftover granola bar that was a week and a half old, stored at room temperature in a container, and it tasted perfect, even a little chewy. It just wasn’t gooey chewy. As long as you are not obsessed with gooey chewy, these bars keep quite well, for the same amount of time as granola keeps.

        ________________________________

  4. Chocolate-drizzled granola bars « More Quiche, Please Says:

    […] one fine day, when Laura at Pragmatic Attic posted a nut-free granola bar recipe. Although we only know each other through our blogs, she said she’d actually thought of me […]

  5. Nature Valley-esque Granola Bars « Pragmatic Attic Says:

    […] while back, I posted a recipe for chewy granola bars that reminded me of the Quaker Oats brand. The thin, dense, crunchy granola bar–like the ones […]

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