Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Homemade Granola Bars: Dairy, Gluten, Egg and Soy Free (and they still taste good!)

My kids love snacks.
Lately they have been into granola bars.
And while I am not ashamed to admit that the convenience of those prepackaged bars from Trader Joe's is appealing, I knew there'd come a point where I'd have to try to make some for myself.
When a recipe for chewy granola bars from King Arthur Flour appeared in my inbox, I knew it was time
Enter homemade granola bars, take 1.

I am still on a modified version of the starvation diet. (see here for reason)
That means no dairy, no eggs, no nuts, no avocado.
I can now do gluten (praise, praise, praise!) and soy.
The fact that these granola bars could be made to fit my diet appealed to me because frankly, I am dying for some baked goods.
In the end, these weren't the cake-like treat I was imagining, but they were still really good.
They're not light and cakey.
They're chewy and granola barey. (like that word?)
But still good.

The recipe is all oats.

In addition to the rolled oats, it also calls for oat flour.
If you don't keep that on hand, no fear.
Just whirl some around in your food processor or blender and voila!  Oat flour.

There were not a lot of spices to add--just cinnamon.
And it's optional.
I added it because oatmeal and cinnamon just seem to belong together.

The dough? batter?  mixture? reminds me a bit of oatmeal cookie dough.
Except it is less creamy and delicious.
No eggs or butter to make it so.
It's drier.

Because my kids love chocolate chips in granola bars, I decided to just go ahead and make these like candy and add the chips.
Next time I'll omit them.
It made them too sweet.

I think I'll add coconut, maybe some dried apricots and some kind of nut or seed.
Chocolate chips or no, these bars tasted great with a glass of milk.
Or so I was told by my children because I am not drinking milk.

For the complete recipe, go here.
Read through some of the comments and get an idea of what people changed, what worked and what didn't work.
It's helpful.

And for what's it's worth, here's my input.
1.  Omit the extra granulated sugar.  These are waaay sweet enough already.
2.  If you are using choc chips or lots of sweet, dried fruit, lessen the honey, maple syrup or corn syrup called for at the end.
3. I made the sticky bun sugar they suggested.  I used butter as suggested.  If you want these to be 100% dairy free, either use regular sugar instead of the sticky bun sugar, or try using oil instead of butter.  However, I am not sure how that substitution would work.  It would be a trial and error kind of thing.
4.  I used honey and maple syrup in place of the corn syrup.
5.  The recipe calls for a 9x13 pan.  The bars will be quite thin if you do that.
I doubled the recipe and used the same sized pan. I don't know if that is why my bars took longer to cook than suggested or not.  By doubling the recipe and still using the same size pan, I was able to offer a thicker bar, cut into smaller pieces.
6.  I lined the pan with parchment paper and then used a canola oil spray to grease the paper so the bars would not stick.  They didn't stick a bit..
7.  After baking for 30 minutes, the bars were still really, really wet in the middle, but the sides were getting firm.  I removed them from the oven at that point and let them cool.  After a bit the whole batch firmed up.
8.  Let the bars cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting.  And then cool a lot more before trying to remove.
9.  These bars do not taste good warm. They are too sweet then.  
10  Let them cool and you'll like them.
11.  These granola bars are chewy.  And not quite like the store bought granola bar.  I like them a lot, but I am not in love with them.  I think with some playing around with the recipe, they might be on the favorite list.

If you try this recipe, share with me.
I'd love to know what you tried.
Or, if you have a fabulous homemade granola bar recipe, do share.
I am pretty determined right now to find the perfect recipe so I can have a steady supply on hand.
And I have my eye on making some more of my own snacks.
Like this.
I know, I'm kind of crazy that way.
What can I say, I like homemade.

Love from,


hannah singer said...

you know, if my mama suggested i make these, i just might roll my eyes. from you though, they seem like the cool thing to do;)

in fact, i may make them while my mama is here visiting...and impress her socks off.

mandi said...

A great butter substitute would be virgin coconut oil (nutiva is my brand of choice). That would add some sweetness and a coconut flavor. That with unsweetened, shredded coconut would be fantastic!

jozen said...

love your photos!