As I shuffle towards the finish line of this family-expansion project we began so long ago that it’s become a running joke* there are days when I honestly do not understand why human beings need to gestate beyond 37 weeks. I mean, pretty much the minute the doctor estimated this kid to be 6 pounds, I concluded “it’s cooked! It can come out now, right?” and imagined our 4th of July, baby snuggled in wrap, beer in one hand, medium-rare burger in the other and, lo, it sounded pretty grand to me. Because, of course, we know from experience that’s exactly what the first weeks of having a newborn look like. Fortunately, there are other days when I wake up and feel almost like a person who does not have feet in her rib cage, when by some miracle, I’m able to swim a mile, find some forgotten dress in my closet that actually fits with dignity, and cook things we can pass off as dinners, present and future, and this is one of those days so let’s frolic in it.
In a few days, my son starts a day camp in which the kids are supposed to bring their own lunches — no, not even summer brings a reprieve from my favorite activity — and snacks. Snacks! Predictably, this has stressed me out because I neither want him to feel unloved for being the only kid without a package of some sort of candy/gummy/cookie monstrosity or some other unwholesome delight nor do I want him to develop a package-of-monstrosity-a-day habit. Ideally, I’d rather him eat something homemade where the ingredient list didn’t sound like a science project. Realistically, my best-laid plans will probably only take us through the first couple weeks, after which we’ll be too busy not to succumb to all the wonders of the packaged food world, but until then, I plan to give myself an A for effort. This is also a nut-free facility, a couple of his friends are gluten-free, another cannot have dairy, and all of these factors have collided to finally motivate me to update my go-to granola bars accordingly.
The newest version are indeed nut-free, focusing instead on seeds; they’re also wheat flour-and dairy-free, simpler than ever to make and just barely sweet, though without refined sugar. And also, they have chunks of chocolate in them. Which I will totally pretend is for the kid. And the kid will not mind. But mostly, I wanted something that felt like a treat — for him, for us — without being egregiously over-the-top and dark chocolate, magically and without fail, always makes that happen.
* remember these these Club Med-inspired corn muffins? Pregnant. How about these Miami-inspired endives with oranges and almonds? Knocked up then too. Thanksgiving’s cranberry crumble pie? Also in a family way! However about the squash toasts Halloween 2014? With child, although I didn’t yet know why orange vegetables no longer tasted good to me.
One year ago: Cherry Almond Dutch Baby
Two years ago: Peach and Pecan Sandy Crumble
Three years ago: Triple Berry Summer Buttermilk Bundt
Four years ago: Linguine with Pea Pesto
Five years ago: Blue Cheese and Red Potato Tart
Six years ago: Cheese Straws and Strawberries and Dumplings
Seven years ago: Sweet Cherry Pie
Eight years ago: Dilled Potato and Pickled Cucumber Salad (still my husband’s favorite potato salad!)
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Fairytale of New York
1.5 Years Ago: Gingerbread Snacking Cake
2.5 Years Ago: Parsnip Latkes with Horseradish and Dill
3.5 Years Ago: Cashew Butter Balls
Chocolate Chunk Granola Bars
As mentioned, these are dairy, gluten and nut-free. They can easily (and should be) doubled to fit in the bottom of a 9×13 pan. Like most granola bar recipes, there’s flexibility here. I love the crispy crunch of uncooked millet, but you could instead use quinoa, quinoa flakes, wheat germ (although this would negate the GF status) or even just more oats to replace it. The sunflower seed butter could be replaced with tahini, or another nut butter if you needn’t make these nut-free. For the dried fruit, I used tart cherries because cherries and chocolate always remind me of Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, hooray. If you’ve made the thick, chewy granola bars from the archives, these are a bit thinner and I think you’ll find these less sweet and ingredient-heavy.
Yield: 16 2×2-inch granola bars
1 1/4 cups (100 grams) rolled oats (be sure that they’re labeled gluten-free if needed; I prefer old-fashioned but any will work)
1/4 cup (20 grams) rolled oats, finely ground, or 1/4 cup oat flour
3/4 cup (60 grams) dried unsweetened shredded coconut (I used a medium grind)
1/3 cup (65 grams) uncooked millet (see alternatives up top)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 cup (about 140 grams) chopped dried fruit
1 cup (170 grams) chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
1/4 cup (65 grams) sunflower seed butter
1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil, warmed until liquefied
1/4 cup (about 85 grams) maple syrup, honey or golden syrup
Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line an 8-by-8 inch square pan with two sheets of parchment paper, extending each up two sides, forming a “sling” for your bars to make them easy to remove.
In a large bowl, combine oats, oat flour or ground oats, coconut, millet, salt, cinnamon (if using), dried fruit and chocolate. In a separate, small bowl, whisk together sunflower seed butter, oil and sweetener of choice until smooth. Pour wet mixture into dry and stir until combined. Transfer to prepared pan, spreading until flat, then use an addition square of parchment paper to protect your hand as you press, press, press the ingredients tightly into all corners of the pan, until they can be pressed no flatter.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the tops are golden and the edges are light brown. Let cool completely before cutting; they’ll be even easier to cut without crumbling if you chill them in the fridge first, so feel free to cool them there. Once cool, use the parchment “sling” to lift bars from pan and transfer to cutting board. Use a sharp, serrated knife in a very gentle sawing motion to cut bars into desired sizes (I usually go for 16 2×2-inch squares).
Bars will keep at room temperature for up to a week in an airtight container, but I prefer to freeze them, individually wrapped, until needed. They only need to be out of the freezer for about an hour to fully defrost.
244 comments on chocolate chunk granola bars
I am in a lunchbox jam right now. Nut butters are banned, hummus gives Lilli hives, we don’t do processed meats, and the one thing I could pack and know she’d eat – a hard boiled egg – has been banned this week because the new girl has an egg allergy. My mom suggested yogurt, which seems to sort-of be working. Pasta (obviously without any sort of sauce or cheese) is working, at least this week. Man, two-year-olds are so fickle. I miss the adventurous one-year-old. The pediatrician estimates by 4 or 5 it will be better. Will definitely give these a spin. Love the original.
My family (and me, too) LOVE those thick and chewy granola bars. In fact, I took a batch of those to the hospital for her and the nurses at the birth of my grandson last October! She (and me, too!) will love these, I’m sure.
After trying many different methods to make granola bars less crumbly, I read about Kim Boyce’s granola bars one day on Food52 and a trick I learned is to boil the honey/maple syrup/sugar for a minute or 2 before adding it to the dry ingredients. I really think it helps give them a little more chew and stick together better, but you can’t boil it too long otherwise they will be too hard. Also, conveniently you can add the butter/fat and nut butter to the hot sugar to melt it quickly to form a cohesive mixture to add to the dry ingredients. Have you ever tried it?
It’s going to be hot (>90F) this weekend and I should eat more than ice cream. I think this work; I can bake them at night when it’s relatively cool.
Yum! If I were to make these without coconut, should I up the oats? Would ground almonds work?
Hahaha do I remember a sudden barrage of posts just prior to a small arrival last time!! (Look delish btw)
I’m reading this post while I eat a cherry and dark chocolate version of your thick, chewy granola bar that I made last night. I cannot, however, claim to have made these for a kid going to camp. They’re mine…all mine.
Seriously, these things are the granola bars of my dreams. You do amazing things in that tiny kitchen of yours.
Jacob will be the hit of the day camp! All the other children will want to trade their snacks for his :)
Glad you are feeling well. Do you have a recommendation for the best brand of coconut oil? ‘d like to buy some, but I’m not sure if branding matters and it is expensive enough that I don’t want to get something of poor quality.
To Molly: My almost 3 year old just started nursery/camp last week and we pack lunch. Her 2 staples (the third is pbj, sorry) are leftover brown rice and beans (her dad is brazilian, so there’s never a day that’s not in the fridge) and plain greek yogurt with a little honey on top. We pack little containers of raisins and cheerios, she LOVES unwrapping babybel cheeses. We also throw in leftover corn on the cob (or cut off and in a tiny container) which she LOVES. And cucumber sticks or bell pepper slices (her name is Josie and loves that they make J’s) are also easy. And when she asks for it for breakfast, i also throw leftover oatmeal in a container (she’ll eat it at any temp. – her oatmeal gets fruit of the day and chia seeds (today was banana, plum, and raisins, but really anything works)
These look amazing–I loved your older granola bar recipe, and being a recently diagnosed Person With Celiac, was bemoaning ever having them again! Here’s a puzzler for you, though–while clearly we can use certified GF oats, my doctor has actually suggested I stay off of oats as well (clearly, I now eat nothing. KIDDING.) is there a purely GF grain that you think might have the same binding ability–perhaps a form of buckwheat, or maybe even quinoa flakes? I’m a bit stumped, but would love to make these. I could use a healthy homemade snack . . .
Hope your family expansion goes smoothly and that you are feeling good in this summery weather!
cont.d the other thing i will pack for her is non-sushi – just the nori wraps around rice, sliced, sometimes with cucumber or avocado in the middle
Oh boy, I am so hyped for this recipe. I have been experimenting with healthier cookies using some paleo recipes, which are okay, but this sounds awesome and I have most of the ingredients handy. Couple of questions though, about the millet alternatives. That’s the one thing I don’t have. You mention quinoa, I’m assuming you mean cooked or would you use raw? Also, what do you think about ground flaxseed meal as an alternative? I have oat bran on hand too, I guess that would work as well. Once again, Deb, it’s like you’re in my head sometimes, it’s kind of creepy, but oh so wonderful
I love your other granola bars & can’t wait to make these :) If replacing the millet with quinoa, would it benefit the bars if I popped it in a dry pan first? Or should I just add it straight from the package? Thanks!
Thank you for a great packable kid friendly option. My kid is currently thrilled to get the leftover mini “pupcakes” I made for our dog’s birthday. Basically a baked oatmeal/ applesauce/ molasses/ cinnamon thing which any normal person would find texturally and tastewise boring. These will be MUCH MUCH better!
Why is it that the snack part is so stressful and hard? On top of the already difficult and mostly hated figuring out and packing a lunch part, it about sends me over the edge. So, from one mother trying to navigate the waters of nut free, GF, dairy free to another, God bless you for this and thank you. Another awesome snack for camps and lunches is the carrot oatmeal cookies from 101 cookbooks. (Omit the walnuts, add a little extra oatmeal, or some extra coconut, or whatever. http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/carrot-oatmeal-cookies-recipe.html). Good luck with it all!
O-kaaaay! This is pretty near perfect for a lunchbox for anyone, of any age! I tell you this baby has turned you into an even *bigger* ( sorry) culinary genius than you used to be! If it is a girl how about Susan (” Sue-chef”) Perelman???? :)
I’ve made your thick and chewy ones many times, adjusted for my nut-allergic kiddo. Might try this version too! (FYI, if sharing these with a nut-allergic kid sensitive to cross-contamination, Enjoy Life choc. chips are the way to go – free of top 8 allergens! http://enjoylifefoods.com/our-food/baking-chocolate/chocolate-for-baking-mini-chips/)
These will be the perfect snack for our upcoming road trip. Thank you! We are a big fan of your earlier version, so I’m looking forward to giving this new one a try. So, like Danielle (#15) I have questions about the suggestion to replace millet with quinoa–just straight up raw?? I did a quick Google search (like, um, less than a minute. does that count?) and didn’t see anything definitive about eating raw quinoa.
Ugh these look so perfect! I’ve been craving granola bars in such a big way, it’s not even funny. I love that you put coconut and coconut oil in these. Everything is better with coconut, especially raw desserts (even though I know these aren’t raw). Fun recipe! Thanks for sharing!
If substituting quinoa for the millet, should it also be uncooked? I’m assuming so, but we all know what happens when one assumes. Thanks! These are coming along on an upcoming transatlantic flight. You have saved us from the perils of airplane food!
These look so yummy!
Deb, Deb, Deb!
Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest–go ahead, put more sleep in the sleep bank. Put your feet up! Procrastinate! Am praying for you and the new little one–that your imminent uncoupling will be uneventful and happy. My best to all the Perelman’s!
I honestly can’t believe you are making chocolate chunk bars 37 weeks prego! But then again, when I was pregnant at that time, I was going nuts cleaning closets and Swiffering floors. Enjoy these last too weeks! Don’t wish baby out quite yet, they are cute but exhausting =)
Those look delicious! I would’ve loved these as a kid–much better than those store-bought granola bars, I imagine :)
Oh I can’t believe it’s almost time for your little babe to be here! I would gladly take these as a lunch, kid or not :)
If I replace the millet with wheat germ, is it just a 1:1 substitution? I always stock up on wheat germ to make biweekly batches of granola from your book! I’m gestating too, so everything on here looks good to me :)
This second trimester baby has been demanding your maple granola from the book – two batches this month alone – although I did share a teeny tiny bag with a friend. I LOVE it. So you KNOW I’m gonna hafta make these pronto, although I’ll probably throw in some cashews because yum.
This version looks fabulous! I often send my girls with your “jacked-up banana bread” as a snack. Thick slices last through the day, and I never hear complaints! I also think they’re treatish. Best wishes during this last stage. The last few weeks, days of baby-waiting are the toughest.
I am smiling at the thought of paleo cookies (thanks to commenter #14). I just read something to the effect that a true paleo diet ought to include a lot of small critters like voles and squirrels, and grubs and insects.
This looks so yummy and delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I love sweets, but I do try to find something at least a bit healthy. So this is a great tip! Thank you :)
Ooo I’m so excited to make these when I get home! Going on a roadtrip to a convention tomorrow and while I thought popcorn and cherries would be sufficient food you have proved me wrong! I think I have everything but dried fruit if I use chia seeds instead of millet and peanut butter for sunflower seed although I could steal some of my coworkers almond butter hmm…
Can’t wait to try these! I’ve been making snacks at home lately vs. buying pre-made stuff and have loved the homemade goodies! I like how simple these are too!
I love flapjacks and made so many different types before but never without the dairy, i thought they wouldn’t stick. I guess the sunflower seed butter and coconut oil that makes them stick and not fall apart… will try. Am pregnant myself atm and need to find healthy snacks for massive sugar cravings, I’m growing way quicker than i should be :/
I made this recipe yesterday and waited several hours to cool completely. When I tried to cut it in squares it fell apart. I don’t know what I did wrong. The only thing I might think was the coconut. I didn’t have the medium grind so I used what I had in the pantry was coconut flakes. Could be the reason?
Uhh, yummy. I just have your blueberry cornmeal cake in the oven, it was a toss up between blueberry bars and those: the streusel won again. Maybe another snack solution? I think they freeze really well and could avert the packaged snack lure in the near future…
I made your thick, chewy granola bars for the first time two days ago. They are amazing! My husband immediately requested a chocolate version, so these are up next. I had zero crumbling problems unlike a lot of commenters. I did use nut butter, only corn syrup, and veg oil instead of butter. Because I didn’t have much dried fruit on hand I used 4 different chopped nuts. I’m really hoping the baby in my belly doesn’t come out with an allergy- I can handle nut-free lunches, but a nut-free home would be so sad.
I’m a big fan of your regular granola bars, so I’m looking forward to trying this variation. One thing about their gluten-free status, though . . . I’m afraid they’re only gluten-free if you use oats that are labelled “gluten-free” (in the US) or “wheat-free” (in Canada). That’s because oats often grow next to wheat and are processed at the same factories, which can be very dangerous for Celiacs. It would be wonderful if you could note that on your recipe so that someone doesn’t make it for a Celiac using the regular (contaminated) oats thinking it’s safe for them to eat.
I never could imagine going the full 40 weeks with my kids, but I did 3 out of 4 times. My 3rd child was a week early. I walked around that entire week saying look at him! Can you imagine if he was still in my body?!?!
I am so excited to try these. We love, love, love the thick and chewy bar recipe and I bet this will be a big hit, too. Bonus points for it being friendly to those with food allergies (we only have peanut allergy in our house, but it’s great to have something that will be an option for almost everyone at a potluck/school function/etc.).
And this is probably one of those foods you talked about a bit ago — those for L&D staff. I have no medical training whatsoever, but if I did and you walked into L&D with a stack of these…. I’d be at your beck and call! (Well, I’d probably be at your beck and call anyway since I consider us internet BFFs.) :)
HOORAY! Thank you for a nut-free recipe! I’ve got to take the coconut out – to be on the extra safe side – but this is outstanding!!!
And, best of all, I know that it is going to be fantastic because it is coming from you!!!!
Hi Deb, I love the looks of this! Can’t wait to make it. I have a question: my son is allergic to nuts and also sunflower seeds (bummer!) Do you think this would be OK without the seed butter? Perhaps I could even sub in applesauce; what do you think? Thanks!
Looks absolutely wonderful and perfect for on the go!
I love that they are gluten and nut free – would be perfect for my friend who seems to have every allergy under the sun!
Look forward to trying these. The previous version has been a life saver in terms of treats for a broad group. We even manage to make them vegan with agave and the right chocolate.
One day when I opened my brown lunchbag, I squealed in delight when my mom uncharacteristically blessed me with a bag of gushers. Then I realized I grabbed the wrong lunchbag.
I love your original granola bars and can’t wait to try these, but feel compelled to mention that there are lots of easy things you can send for a snack that are not packaged, processed junk. Mix and match: carrot sticks/celery/sugar snap peas/fruit/other veg and a piece of cheese/handful of nuts/seeds/cup of yogurt/beef jerky/other approved protein would be my go tos in your situation.
When I hear “dairy free and gluten free,” I usually expect to see some other strange ingredients I’ve never heard of in the ingredient list, but I was pleasantly that this was not the case with these granola bars. They look fantastic!
These are in the oven, currently. I did opt to use the cinnamon, and used that TJ’s chunky peanut butter with chia and flax (because we never use it and I didn’t need them to be nut-free). I also used dried cranberries, as sadly I didn’t have any cherries. The mixture was delicious going in, so I have no doubts.
I love that you used uncooked millet. Millet is one of my favorite grains; of which my Mom refers to as “that stuff in suet for the birds”. Hmph.
I was on the west coast for my honeymoon/notahoneymoon and have been catching up on the past 2 weeks of posts. You are, as always, my favorite read.
How do you clean millet? Last time I cooked it I ended up chomping on the most unpleasant grit…
Those look absolutely wonderful! I am always on the hunt (for me and the husband), and these totally fit the bill. Thanks, and almost-congratulations!!
These sound great and I totally agree about using miller for crunch! Will be making these ASAP!
I’m not sure what happened to my recipe, but my granola bars aren’t sticking together. They are a crumbling mess (but still taste good). Only thing I changed was using quinoa instead of millet. I’m stumped. Any suggestions for next time?
Love the typo: “use the parchment sling to life bars from pan”…somehow I see a little helicopter hovering, making an emergency pickup of a granola bar! :) Anyway, you have the right to make a few typos in your condition! I think I might switch in some actual sunflower kernels for the millet, but the granola bars sound lifesaving to me! Best wishes in these last happy weeks.
Caps — I’m supposed to clean millet? Yikes, I never have, although one should never look to me for cleaning advice. I’ve also never experience grit. Neverthelesss, can’t it just be rinsed in a fine-mesh strainer? I keep a small one around for rice…
JP — Ha! Now fixed, although it’s not as fun now.
MeInChicago — Are they still crumbling post-chilling in the fridge?
rebecca — Is he allergic to sesame seeds, i.e. could you use tahini? I haven’t made these with no nut or seed butter, so I cannot say for sure how it would work. I wouldn’t consider applesauce a sub, though, I think it would just make the bars soft.
Re, coconut and coconut oil — Coconut is not actually a nut. Via Google: “…coconuts are classified as drupes (more specifically, “dry drupes”). A drupe is a fruit with a hard stony covering enclosing the seed (like a peach or olive). While it is possible to be allergic to coconut, the cross reactivity for those with tree nut allergies is very rare.”
Wife to an Amazing Cook — Great idea! Or perhaps I could come around on the whole L&D snacks for dad thing… NAAAH. :)
Stephanie — I’ll make a note, but FWIW I didn’t mention it because cross-contamination is a risk with every single nut, grain, seed and most dry pantry ingredients, so I don’t as a practice list it next to every ingredient at risk on every GF recipe. It doesn’t mean that oats themselves aren’t gluten-free.
Susan — Are oats an issue because of contamination or something else? Oats ARE gluten-free. It’s only in packaging in facilities that there’s ever an issue. (See my response to Stephanie as well.)
Brittany — Whichever one you’re happy with. I know a lot of people use TJs brand. I’ve been using this Spectrum brand because it’s pretty easy for me to get.
breadandroses — Maybe some extra oats and some flaked (thin sliced) almonds…
Lizzie — I actually think Kim Boyce is spot on (er, when it she not?). I mean, granola is basically brittle (I talked about this a bit in my book, where I made a granola bound with egg whites) and brittle glues because of melted sugar. I’ve been able to get away with skipping that step with this recipe, but you definitely want to press them in well and cut them carefully. I will try them next time with warmed sweetener and see if I find it easier.
Wendy — GREAT idea! It’s so easy to trim the sugar and amp up the fruit in quickbreads, and without a doubt, my son will feel spoiled with a slice of “cake.” (I mean, which it is, who are we kidding.)
Jennifer, re, wheat germ — Yes, I’d use 1:1 by volume here.
JC, Emily — I use both uncooked, although quinoa should always be rinsed. However, CAVEAT, I have not tested these with quinoa. However, on a previous recipe where I called for uncooked millet, many many people said they used quinoa (uncooked but rinsed) instead and it was delightful so I felt more confident than usual recommending this untested-by-me swap. If you wish, you can toast it first but it didn’t sound necessary. It’s not going to provide the same crackle as millet, but it will provide an extra crunch.
SallyO — I think flax seed would work just fine instead.
The Prestigious School — Yes, THIS. 7-pound-ers/38.5-week-ers are adorable! (Or, my first was.) What are those extra weeks for but to torture the mama?
Theresa — Yes, of course, but my concern is that no kid is going to have a healthy snack and mine will and I will definitely hear about it. I know kids will have cookies, etc. and don’t want him to feel left out. I’ll use some dried fruit (apricots, figs) which he loves and considers a treat, but I know I’ll also need something indulgent for him. (We get the fresh vegetables and fruits in during actual mealtime.)
Molly — 4-5 is definitely easier for us (he loves black beans and beef tacos and scrambled eggs now!), and many parents, but I wouldn’t say everyone. I definitely hear about kids that remain indefinitely picky in the schoolyard. I tend to be more cutthroat at dinnertime — he can eat what we’re having, or not eat — but with lunchboxes, I can’t have him miserable and hangry at school all day so I’ve just tried to find ways to work with his preferences (cucumbers YES carrot sticks NO, etc.), even if I’d rather he branch out a little.
These look WAY up my alley. So much to love (millet! coconut oil! chocolate!) Thanks for the inspiration, Deb. Hope you’re feeling o.k.
My sister just made a batch of these and gave me two bars which barely made it home. These are the best granola bars I’ve ever eaten. Thanks deb
A friend who is extremely allergic to peanuts told me she can’t eat most chocolate because labeling is poor on chocolate packages – bars, chips, etc. Almost ALL chocolate (dark, milk, white) is NOT NOT NOT completely nut free (i.e. produced/manufactured in a facility containing nuts). Please be aware if you are serving to a person with peanut allergies.
Deb! I’m 37 weeks in NYC too and on my schlep to my doctor’s appointment today I started fantasizing that you’d be my postpartum roommate and we’d hang out eating your cookies and bars and yogurt popsicles while staring at our babies. Anywayyyys, thanks for being such an amazing resource – I’ve eaten like a hundred pounds of broccoli slaw in the last two years, thanks to you!
What kind of rolled oats? Instant, quick cooking or old fashioned large flake? Sweetened or unsweetened coconut? This looks great and I want to make sure I get it right. I appreciate that you’re still cooking and posting. Thanks for all your efforts.
So recognizable! I’m 39 weeks and in my opinion he was cooked 2 weeks ago :) good luck with the last weeks! And thank you for this great recipe, which I’ll definitely try after this little bun is out of the oven ;)
So oats as grown in conventional fields are not classified as gluten-free because nearly all oat farmers also grow wheat and have a crop rotation system, which means you can’t ensure that your oats are 100% wheat- (and therefore gluten-) free. The GF oats you buy in stores are not only not cross-contaminated in the factory, they are grown on farms where no wheat is ever grown on that same land, or, I think, stored in oat vicinity.
But yes, of course, there’s no gluten in any actual rolled oat flake. Just a question of contamination, be it from the field or the factory.
They look so amazing! I wanna eat them right now!
Thank you for a nut-free recipe! Looks absolutely wonderful and perfect for on the go! These sound great and I totally agree about using miller for crunch! Will be making these ASAP!
I’ve done a similar version of these a few months ago. The problem was, they were too sticky and I couldn’t eat them with my bare hands without making a mess everywhere in the kitchen. And, just 30 minutes staying outside of the fridge, they melted down… but I guess that’s how it goes with homemade granola bars anyways..
Would love to try these. Would you be able to add the weights for me?
I’d like to chime in on the oats/gluten discussion. Oats do indeed contain gluten, even if they are grown on non-wheat farms. The gluten protein is called avenin, which is different from the gluten protein in wheat. Have a look at this great website for further information http://www.coeliac.org.au/uploads/65701/ufiles/Position_Statements/CAPSOats.pdf. Many people intolerant to wheat can handle oats…not my girls though.
If you check the label on the Trader Joe’s Sunflower Butter pictured here I think you’ll find it contains refined sugar. And the chocolate? Isn’t that sweetened with refined sugar? Maybe you meant to say without refined sugar added?
I’ve been looking for a good granola bar recipe – this might be it! Nice addition of the millet in there. These look quite sturdy, too, like they’d be able to withstand being transported – and that’s always been my problem with homemade granola bars in the past.
I made these last night! They are amazing! I couldn’t help it, after I read the recipe, I knew I had to make them right away! I picked up a few things after work, and made a double batch after we put our baby to bed. We ate quite a bit of it warm right out of the oven on vanilla ice cream (heaven!) with our next door neighbors, and in the morning I cut the rest up into bars which are just as good and not too dry at all. I used honey, and millet, and didnt chop up the cherries or chunks – but everything else was per recipe and was magnificent. These would make great gifts, as they are lovely to look at as well! Thank you for the recipe!!!
Charlotte — I used old-fashioned oats but I think all kinds will work. Old-fashioned provide a crunchier texture. The coconut is unsweetened, will clarify.
Weights — Now added.
Rachel — How fun that would be! (Also, especially because the roommate I had after Jacob cursed me out me when I asked if she could turn her TV down at night. Nope, not traumatizing at all.)
P.S. Thanks for all the cheers and tips about going from 1 kid to 2. Theoretically, it should be less dramatic, right? I always joke that we’ve already ceded our energy, our youth, our sleep, any trace chance of being hip (just kidding, we were never) to parenthood so what else could there be? But I have many friends for whom the second kid was much more “work” (I believe I was this kind of second child myself) and Jacob is a really easy-going well-behaved kid and … Clearly, I just need to give myself more things to worry about at 3 a.m. :)
I made these! Yummy! I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes swimmingly and healthily for you and the babe. xxoo
Sarah: Haahaaa, she’s blog-nesting!
Deb: We thought parenting a newborn was very much easier the second time around. Our 2nd also slept like a absolute dream from the get-go, which was quite different (surprising and wonderful) for us. I credit hearty mid-to-late afternoon named-by-me Chubby Snacks (for instance a big bowl of homemade popcorn cooked in a bit of coconut oil, tossed with ample melted butter, and a slice of Seriously Sharp Cheddar) for making the evening’s mother’s milk richer. Even if it didn’t really help, I got to have a great snack every day.
I hope things go very nicely for your new child’s arrival.
I have to secretly admit, because of the chocolate is one of the reason I eat granola, Love it!
Wow, I love this idea! It’s an easy breakfast to go. Those kinds of ideas make the morning much more relaxed. So, it’s a nicer start into the day :) Thank you for this suggestion!
Just realized I have EVERYTHING for this recipe in my pantry right now! At this very moment I am very happy!
Just wanted to add my voice to that of Stephanie, Susan and Clarissa about GF oats. Celiacs can only eat oats that are specifically labelled gluten free, as Clarissa mentioned, also because the risk of cross contamination is much higher than for other grains because of how they’re grown and processed (mixed in among wheat fields). Other seeds/grains might be contaminated but that’s on a product by product basis, whereas all oats are not safe unless specifically labelled. And not all celiacs can tolerate oats at all. Just a mention in case anyone does try to make these for celiac friends (because they look very tasty) and their friend has to refuse, or ends up sick.
6 pounds! Are you kidding me???? My son was 9.4 pounds, my sister’s was over 10! My niece’s baby was 5.5 and I felt like I was holding a doll! My son could practically hold his head up and stand when he was born! Ha!
Seriously, though, these look amazing. Have to try this with the gluten free oats for my little niece who is gluten sensitive. Thanks!
Deb, these granola bars look delicious! I love the use of so many allergy-friendly ingredients! My neighbor has two children who are allergic to almost anything under the sun, and I like to be able to share delicious treats with them when I can. These are great! Thanks for the recipe!
My theory on the last month of pregnancy: It is designed solely to be so uncomfortable that you no longer fear labor. (Get it out! I don’t care how!)
I’ve made your original chewy granola bars a bunch of times and we love it! It was my go-to snack last winter while I learned how to ski… easy to pop one in my pocket and munch on it all day. They did however turn out slightly brittle/crumbly every time… I’ll try the tip about warming the honey next time..Thanks for the recipe!
Good luck with baby no.2!!!
“Theoretically, it should be less dramatic, right? I always joke that we’ve already ceded our energy, our youth, our sleep, any trace chance of being hip (just kidding, we were never) to parenthood so what else could there be?”
Haha! This is hilarious and, as a mom of two, I agree 100%!!! Number 2 is a lot less dramatic. Also, in my experience, once the youngest is old enough to start really playing, two kids are a lot easier to keep busy and “entertained” than one. Best of luck to you! :)
To Susan (#11comment) oats are gluten free but easily contaminated in the growing fields or in transit or in processing so that’s why you should always use certified GF oats. Trader Joe’s has good ones. Some people and docs feel that some people with celiac can be sensitive to oats even tho using GF oats and recommend limiting them at least in the beginning. I have never had a problem with oats and make oatmeal and use GF oats in recipes. I think this recipe sounds good and may make it. I make homemade granola (my daughter’s recipe) and it is wonderful! Good luck!
I made these yesterday–absolutely delicious!! I used almond flour instead of oat flour, added a tsp of vanilla, and used agave to sweeten. Will be making these many, many more times to come. I’ve never added millet to bars before–loving it!!
*HUMMUS GIVES LILLI HIVES* — from Molly’s #1 comment. One-two-three-four and a whole socio-economic cultural time & place comes to life! Beautifully rhythmic and poetic combination of words, too. Would be a GREAT name for a blog, dontcha think?
Help, I am pre-diabetic and I think I can eat these, any thoughts. I have been hungry and miserable for 7 months and need a treat, and you never fail, so anyone out there with diabetes or pre-diabetic, advice.
Deb, will we be seeing a lactation cookie recipe soon?
Deb, long time reader, first time commenter. I agree, school lunch packing is the pits! My son goes to a Chabad preschool, so they stipulate nut- and peanut-free lunches that are also dairy or pareve (no meat or poultry, but fish is OK). I feel the first time commenter’s pain! Fortunately, we can do gluten, dairy, and eggs (they are strict about kids not sharing lunches). But ugh! We like to pack sunbutter and jelly sandwiches, hard boiled eggs, cottage cheese, and TONS of cheese sticks. Oh, and I recently discovered the joys of tahini when I tried the brand Ottolenghi recommended (other brands always tasted stale and tinny). These granola bars look great, too! I’ll have to try them!
I make something similar as my daily nursing mama snack (8 months into nursing and I am so hungry all. the. time.) Except since I don’t do well with too many raw-ish oats I fill mine with pumpkin seeds, poppy seeds and sesame seeds. I also add some ground flax seeds with water to help things stick together and I also add lots of unsweetened whey powder for the protein. Tahini, coconut oil and maple syrup are key though.
Just wanted to say I just made these using quinoa and tahini and it worked out great! I did chill the bars for quite a while before cutting. There was a small amount of breakage and crumbling but plenty of the bars held their shape…the little crumbles make great “it doesn’t count as a treat” snacks :)
Hillary – do you mind sharing the brand name of the tahini that Ottolenghi recommended?
Nice! I think I’ll try it. Thank you for adapting your mesures in in grammes.
Here in Italy, it’s impossible to find sunflower seed butter, and coconut oil is really expensive. Do you think I could substitute them AND sugar by date cream (I don’t know how it’s called in english)? Usually it’s a really strong natural glue and it’s sweet enough to avoid sugar.
Thank you for the recipe!
Mary – I’m not sure if it’s the same but Michael Solomonov who runs a number of great places in Philly and makes phenomenal hummus recommended Soom brand tahini. I bought some and it’s light years away from the metal can variety that I have fought with for years trying to mix it all together.
Ooh, millet! Never thought about putting that in the original thick-n-chewy version, and since its in the cupboard anyway for your banana bread recipe… Well, anyhow – really wanted to mention that I sent a batch of the originals (cranberry/ cherry/ pecan/ cashew/ almond/pepitas/ sesame seeds/chocolate chip) along with my daughter & her friends to Bonnaroo a couple weeks back, and they were extremely well received. How interesting to think of all the places your recipes go!
I love, love, love your original recipe for granola bars. I use it all the time, and even have some of my daughter’s friends hooked. My one problem with them – it seems that no matter how hard I press (I’ve tried my hands, with lots of pressure, a slightly smaller pan pressed down firmly, etc) they always crumble in places. Still delicious, but harder to eat. Any suggestions? (I am usually a lurker, but love your site!)
I like the first part with a snuggled up infant and a beer in the other hand. The granola bars sound good too!
I had the same problem with crumbling and I followed the recipe except used peanut butter instead of sunflower butter. They taste wonderful so should I try more peanut butter, oil or maple syrup next time?
Not sure what type of tahini Ottolenghi recommends , but I’ve been on a tahini kick with Whole Foods 365 house brand (organic). It stirs up easily and stays blended unlike brands that have a layer of sesame sludge at the bottom! Have even been mixing it with miso and a splash of mirin for non nutty sesame noodles.
Those look wonderful! Thanks. I’m going to try these next time its cool enough here to bake.
You always crack me up, Deb. You definitely get an A for both effort and the actual result. These bars look so yummy; I’d love to eat these as a snack! I hope you do end up with some semblance of your desire for a beer and burger on July 4th! ;)
I’m struggling to find dairy free recipes for snacks that would satisfy my sweet tooth so thank you so much for sharing this. Oh, the perks of breastfeeding a baby with a dairy allergy!
Which brand of chocolate did you use? I haven’t been able to find any dairy free chocolate chips.
On another note, did you know that you have a risotto tagged as dairy free?
Maria, I too breastfed a baby (then a toddler…lol) with a dairy allergy. So, Enjoy Life brand chocolate chips are dairy and soy free and delicious. I think there is also a brand called Camino? Something like that. Enjoy Life are awesome. Also, you can make a dairy free risotto. Just use olive oil instead of butter for sauteing the onions and garlic, and don’t add cheese at the end. It does sound crazy, but I swear, you really won’t notice. Especially if you add in a veggie – I often do green peas or asparagus. Oh, and I also skip the wine. I started doing that when I was pregnant – and then I had a baby with a dairy allergy, so I eliminated the dairy too. lol You might not think it’s risotto anymore, but it is surprisingly good. :)
For those of you following the oats/gluten free dilemma. I substituted the oats for 50% quinoa flakes and 50% LSA meal, and they were delicious and held together well. I’m obsessed with these bars and all their variations!
WONDERFUL! Just made these yesterday for an upcoming road trip and they are delicious. I substituted quinoa for the millet and yep, worked perfectly. Used dried cherries for the fruit. And I added a spoonful of extra sunflower seed butter in an attempt to make them less crumbly, but in spite of that (and the pressing and the refrigeration) they are still pretty crumbly…but my kids love them (as do I), and that trumps crumbs. Thanks!
Very excited to try these. When measuring, I noticed that the Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats seem to be heavier than regular rolled oats–I could only find “extra thick” in gluten free. 1.5 cups is equal to 140 grams.
I made the tahini version last night and they were fabulous. My 5 year old has been eating way too many cliff bars as a packed lunch treat for camp, and he agreed this morning to start bringing these instead. Hurray! Thank you for another fabulous recipe.
I made them and although they are delicious, they definitely crumbled like crazy. I did put them in the fridge but maybe not long enough :(
Mmm, these look awesome! Do you think they’ll work in a care package (to mail to someone) or do they probably need to stay chilled?
Mine crumbled into small chunks. I used ground flax, almond butter, honey, semi-sweet chocolate chips, cinnamon, and dried cherries. I let them cool for 30 minutes before before I cut into them, but that clearly wasn’t enough time. But let’s be honest, it’s almost impossible to keep from digging into them right away, so how are we supposed to let them cool completely? So, the downside is we have no granola “bars”, but we do have some granola chunks that are great in a bowl of milk!
I used quinoa, forgot to rinse it and lived to write this. The quinoa gave the bars a great texture but alas they are very crumbly. I also find them a tad salty and I love salt in my chocolate. The crumbles will be great over ice cream. Thank You for a great base recipe.
P.S. I recently made (for the second time) the Carrot Oatmeal “Breakfast” Cookies by Heidi Swanson (via TheKitchn). They incorporate a lot of lovely spices, coconut flakes, coconut oil, maple syrup, oats, and shredded carrot (and if you grate it finely enough, it melts into the wet ingredients–without a trace). We leave out the nuts because of allergies. Could probably sub oat flour, though I haven’t tried it. These should freeze beautifully, if they aren’t eaten immediately.
I just made these and they taste excellent, but crumbled. I cooled them for 30 min on the counter and 30 min in the fridge. The chocolate chips were not fully set. Sounds like they need to be cooled for hours? I’m going to throw the crumbles on yogurt. I also used unrinsed (oops) uncooked quinoa.
Made them last night, let them rest until this morning in the refrigerator, and then cut them. No problem of crumbliness. I used maple syrup for the sweetener and a mix of seed (hemp, chia, flax) for the coconut. They are quite good and not too sweet.
Thanks Ari! I appreciate the details re cooling times. I will try that next time.
Re, crumbly bars — Pressing hard in the pan before baking and more time in the fridge should do the trick. When they’re cold, they cut well with gentle sawing/serrated knife.
Re, sending these in a care package — I think they’d be just fine, however, cut them and maybe even wrap them when cold, to make it easiest.
Evita — I’m completely unfamiliar with date cream so I cannot say whether it works as a substitute. However, another oil or fat for the coconut oil will work as well, and another nut butter or tahini-like paste will work well for the sunflower seed butter.
Allyson — 6 pounds at 36 weeks, i.e. not done cooking yet. They say they can put on .5 pounds per week at the end, right? That could be 9 pounds at 42 weeks. Noo. (And of course, we know these estimates are almost always off. My son was estimated at high 8s. He was 7 even. I have friends who were told mid-8s and had near-10s. None of it sounds very appealing, does it?)
Stephanie — That’s my theory too but instead the opposite has happened. Maybe it’s because the temp and humidity dropped a little or perhaps this child has descended a bit from my lungs but all of a sudden I’ve had more energy and feel fine and have been swimming full miles with barely a stop, something I hadn’t done since before I was pregnant. I guess that means this kid isn’t going anywhere anytime soon? #pregnantforeverandever
To avoid having to cut granola bars, I like to bake them in lined muffins tins, then bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. I made this recipe using a muffin tin, and it was great!
These look absolutely stunning. I love granola bars, and have been looking for some I can make this weekend. These are definitely the perfect recipe for me – I love the addition of sunflower butter and millet. Mmm! Delicious! Thank you so much for sharing :)
Made these last night to freeze and take along on vacation next week. Very good! Thanks for the substitutions in the Notes, they allowed me to use what I had in my pantry. I used quinoa and tahini along with cashews and cinnamon chips (instead of dried fruit) and they are scrumptious. Mine were just a tad crumbly, but I think this is because my tahini, oddly, wasn’t very “wet” and they just needed a smidge more moisture for glue – cause I pressed the heck out of those bars before refrigerating! I think these will be made again and frozen before my baby arrives in October…thanks for all these awesome freezer meal/snack ideas! I’ve started a list for third trimester nesting syndrome :)
I made a double batch of these last night. I’ve never used millet before, but I’m a convert. Love that crunch! These were delicious, but for me, too sweet for a lunchbox snack. They were more like a dessert. I’m sure my kids will gobble them right up, but I think for lunchboxes I will stick with your healthier – and equally delish – almond-date breakfast bars, or else I will try them again, cutting the sweetener and chocolate.
very healthy snack! Im a chocoholic… excellent ideas. Millet is plenty here in Kenya, so il definately enjoy making these.
We loved these! I made a few subtle changes based on what I had on hand and they were quite the hit. Thank you for the inspiration!
Oh, thanks for your answer! I’ll try it and tell you how it ends up.
Oh lovely Deb… reading your * made me well up. What a arduous journey. I am so so so so so happy for you and the rest of the SK fambam for this new little bean and the blessing that he or she is well and truly sticking around. A billion, no a TRILLION, happy returns! xx
Hi! Not sure if this has ever been mentioned, but oats contain a gluten-like protein called avenin, which about 1 in 5 people with celiac disease react to. Here in Australia, foods containing oats cannot be called gluten-free! (My lady friend – a keen baker and pasta-eater – was officially diagnosed about 6 weeks ago. It has been a voyage of discovery)
Also I have been reading your site for years now, and have given copies of your (first) book to all the cooks in my family. Your site and its community are a shining example of the good things that the Internet can do!
Oh, I haven’t made this yet, but bless your heart for making a nut-free version; we love the original granola bar recipe and it really is annoying that the kid can’t take the bars to school with him.
Also, we’ve found that the first kid is actually cracking good entertainment for the second kid. My baby will stare at my three-year-old for as long as it takes to make dinner; maybe even longer; and making the baby smile is one of the older kid’s favorite things. It’s phenomenal (when they’re both in a good mood). Good luck!
Just made these. They tasted good, but are very dry and crumbly. They seemed dry prebaking, but I still followed the recipe. I put them in the fridge afterward, but didn’t really help much. Any suggestions on how much more wet ingredients to add next time?
Made these last week and just blogged them. I didn’t have structural issues after letting them chill overnight in the fridge. Quite enjoyable, with the surprising millet pop, but next time I won’t use pomegranate molasses for the sweetener.
I have been wanting to make some granola bars. My son gifted me with a 5 gallon bucket of steel cut rolled oats, and I need to find some recipes for them that do not include a lot of sugar and brown sugar. I think this one will work great. Thanks!
Thanks for the recipe. Made them. Very tasty. Some suggestions
1. Hemp hearts substituted for millet (it’s what I had on hand)
2. Coconut flour substituted for oat flour (I need to use it up)
3. Press using the bottom of another cake pan for uniformity – much easier than just using your hands on parchment paper
I let the pan cool completely and then refrigerated it for a couple of hours and had no trouble cutting into bars.
Thank you for the recipe, I made these granola bars today and they are so delicious. I didn’t add the coconut though as I am not a fan of the taste! :-)
At last the granola bar recipe that works! I have made them twice already and the second time I and my husband decided I should make a double batch so they don’t disappear so quickly! One note, the first time I didn’t have coconut flakes on hand so I used a bit of walnuts instead and it worked very well, the second time I made sure I had the coconuts but then the bars got a bit too dry and they crumbled a lot more… I think one can tweet this recipe a lot and make different versions but a great base! I have been looking for a good granola bar recipe for 10 years maybe :p
Good luck with the baby on the way! a precious one on the way :)))
Thank you for always including freezing instruction! I just have to say this because I’m a nervous freezer and always question it. These bars look scrumptious (as do the other 9 recipes I’ve printed in the last five minutes.)
Wow, these are SO good! A bit heavy on the chocolate, which makes them a hit with the three-years-old, so I might play around with the recipe a bit, but definitely awesome. I used tahini and honey, a favourite combination in our kitchen, opted for olive oil over coconut oil, and froze the pan for 30 minutes before cutting – no crumbling. Good luck with the baby! (and with sibling rivalry, our experience hasn’t been as pleasant as Kat’s)
These are amazing! I made them as written– I made my own sun butter in the food processor and used half honey, half golden syrup. Yum yum. I refrigerated them for a few hours and then cut them with a bread knife (and promptly ate the crumbles). Thanks so much for this recipe.
I was really excited to make these to share on a hike with some gluten- and dairy-free friends. I made the bars according to the recipe–including pressing them well into the pan, and chilling for several hours before cutting them…and they still crumbled into a big mess when I tried to cut them. Still tasty, but not as easy to transport, and it feels a bit like a waste of good ingredients.
I substitute Flaxseed meal for the wheat germ in your other granola bars and that has worked really well for me. :)
The batter even tastes delish! How am I going to wait to cut these beauties up and eat one myself before my girls get home from camp today?
Making my second batch tonight, as the first one, though delicious, sadly was not edible. On the way from the fridge to the table to cut, I dropped the entire thing in the floor!!!!
Doubling the batch this time and making in cupcake wrappers as suggested by one commenter to eliminate the possibility of the previous mishap.
Using PB, since that’s not one of our allergies, and replacing the shredded coconut with lightly ground sunflower seeds, as I love the taste of coconut but can’t stand the texture.
I made these last week and they were perfect! I subbed the sunflower butter for PB2 and the olive oil for half a mashed banana. They still bound together really well and made the perfect coffee break snack and were also great broken up over some yoghurt for breakfast. Thanks for the fabulous recipe and congratulations on your little one x
I can’t wait to try these! I’ve made a few granola bar recipes, and they are either too oily and fall apart or too dry and I just make granola (which is all right…we love granola!). So glad to see you posted this recipe!!!
I used 185g quick cook oats instead of the rolled oats, oat flour and millet and it worked perfectly! And I used a 150g bag of dark choc chips. Oh and chopped dried apricot for fruit. It was delicious and my kids love it as their camp lunchbox snack (and I love it too, though I calculated it’s 6 weight watchers points per square when cut into 16).
Hello Deb, Greetings and congratulations on the birth of your daughter, from a reader in Montréal. I made these bars on Thursday and have been pecking at them all weekend. I love the textural interest that the millet adds to the mix. Tonight, I plan to make chewy bars from 2010. My question: Do you have a recipe for a savoury granola bar? I don’t recall ever seeing such a thing. I’m imagining a soft, chewy bar that I could pack for lunch to eat with cheese, olives, crudités and a hard-boiled egg. A bar that is more fresh, hefty and nutrient-packed that a regular cracker or slice of bread. My imagination is whirling. What do you think? THANKS!
Amy — I do not, but I love where you’re going with this. Oats? Grains? I’m definitely thinking it would need sesame and sunflower seeds. Let’s figure this out!
Hello again and look what I just found! I will try it soon and can report back here, if you wish. Best wishes, woooo! http://www.ehow.com/how_12343770_easy-make-bread-recipe-healthy-nuts-seeds.html?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_content=freestyle&utm_campaign=fanpage
Deb, I made these last night for my week long vacation. I subbed the millet for quinoa because I had some and the sunflower butter for peanut butter, also because I had it and it was 10pm. When they were done cooking and cooling for 30+ min in the fridge, I tried to cut them. They started to crumble. The edges broke really easily and fell apart in my hands. For the double batch, we have about a cup of granola that I can eat in my breakfast bowl. Any idea why the crumble? Need help.
Also, I LOVE what Amy is thinking with a savory granola bar. Maybe with some rosemary. I look forward to that one. Enjoy the new one. Congrats!!!
Apart from the awesomeness of the recipe itself, I think it is great that you made a kind of a photographical tutorial. It makes things much easier :)
These look amazing! I’m due on October 3 and I would love to make these (and another baked treat) for the labor and delivery nurses. Except, as I’m sure you know, labor is particularly unpredictable. How far in advance did you make baked goods to take for your L&D nurses?
Kristan — This time, I didn’t plan anything nearly as elaborate. Basically, we kept having excesses of bananas in the weeks before the baby arrived, so I made a few batches of small banana bread loaves, some batches were a whole wheat version of this, others were this double-chocolate kind. I froze them. I didn’t end up bringing them the first day (i.e. not to L&D) but had my husband bring them in two containers (with a loaf of each kind in each) the next day, one for the day shift and one for the night shift. He had them either in the fridge or on the counter overnight, so they were defrosted when he brought them in. They were well appreciated, especially by the night shift, which I think gets forgotten. And it may have been the hospital, or it may have been the banana bread, but I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a nicer crew of night shift nurses. :)
This is a fantastic way to satisfy your sweet tooth and feed the hunger demon. Chocolate and oats to me is like a perfect snack for sweet-lovers that just absolutely can’t give up the sweets for weight loss (like myself…god I love chocolate). Oats are high in protein and fibre, which are broken down slowly keeping us fuller for longer. Eating one of these babies is sure to make you feel satisfied.
I’m so glad that Anna Helen had a safe trip to the outside!
Ahhhh! At last! A recipe for granola bars that I do not have to adjust for peanut/tree nut/dairy/wheat/egg-freeness! I’m so excited! Thank you!
Now, how’s about working up a good seedy/oat-y sort of cracker for us?
Hi Deb, I’ve newly discovered your site and am loving it! Congrats on your new baby! I hope you’re all doing ok. I’m on a massively restricted diet for my recent diagnosis of crohn’s and I can’t have any chopped nuts/seeds/dried fruit (among many many other things! Nightmare for a foodie). Is it a problem to make these without the dried fruit and shredded coconut? Will their omission just affect flavour? Should I add anything else in or bulk up any of the other ingredients? Thanks in advance!
Avi — I haven’t tried them with that many changes, but removing items is more of a volume balance issue — you might have too much wet and not enough dry. Try increasing other ingredients to compensate. Good luck.
DELICIOUS! I used amaranth instead of millet as that’s what they had at my local shop. A mixture of peanut butter and tahini instead of sunflower butter. Mixture of dark and milk choc to placate my kids. Really so good, thank you. Hope you are enjoying life with the baby, Deb, and getting some sleep.
Update: My two-year-old twins had a small one of these for dessert after lunch and then instead of napping spent an hour trying to hold hands between their cribs and generally bouncing off the walls! Maybe I’ll go easy on the dark chocolate next time…
Made these today and they are delicious but mostly crumble :(. I used all of the exact ingredients listed above. I think I could have baked a little longer. I did chill in the fridge for an hour. Oh well, when life give you crumbled granola bars, make yogurt parfaits ;)
How long should you bake these if you double the recipe as suggested?
Jordana — It should not affect baking time by more than a couple minutes, if at all, i.e. I’d check in when suggested here.
I didn’t need these to be gluten or nut free, and I don’t like shredded coconut, so I made the following substitutions: ww flour for oat flour, chopped nuts (peanuts and almonds) for the coconut, and peanut butter for the sunflower seed butter. I used honey for the sweetener, and raw quinoa (just rinsed). I let them cool, then put them in the fridge overnight, and I had no problem (no sawing motion required!) cutting them up without much crumbling. They are delicious! Thanks! Next time I’ll double it for sure.
Thank you for the reply, Deb! They did need a little more time when the recipe was doubled. As a nursing mom these granola bars are AMAZING to grab right out of the freezer as a snack – thanks for the recipe! A note for the people who are having crumbly bars – I have made these twice (both times letting them cool overnight in the fridge before cutting) and the second time they were less crumbly when I added slightly more coconut oil than the recipe called for (I doubled the recipe, and then added about 2 extra tablespoons of coconut oil because I wanted to finish the jar anyway). Also, in addition to pressing down with parchment as suggested, a few times during baking, I pressed the bars down with a rubber spatula. I think this helped make the bars less crumbly.
The first time I made these they crumbled. The second time I pressed really hard and they were great. The third time I over-warmed the coconut oil and melted the chips! Sigh. I wish I had baby brain to blame!
This looks so great, but I’m allergic to coconut. Are the shred integral to the recipe? If so, do you know of a gluten, nut and dairy free alternative to them?!
Love these! I used chopped dried apricots, almond butter, slivered almonds in place of the coconut, and trader joes chocolate chunks. I actually found that sawing made them crumble more than just cutting straight down w a chefs knife. I pressed them like crazy before baking, cooled them completely in the fridge (until chocolate was hard) and they have held together perfectly, individually wrapped and frozen. I look forward to my mid morning snack every day…and to many different fruit/nut/nut butter/chocolate combos in the future!
I apologize if this has already been mentioned, but I just can’t wade through all the comments thoroughly! Anyway, for those of you struggling with the bars being overly crumbly, try cooking them less. My first few batches were super crumbly, despite lots of firm pressing. My sister suggested that perhaps I was overcooking them. I was skeptical because they didn’t look (or taste) at all overcooked. Nevertheless, gave it a try in the most recent batch, and it was like magic! No crumbly bars. 18 minutes was just right for my oven.
I absolutely love your maple granola from your cookbook — is there a way to make that into bars? THANKS!
Do you taste the sunbutter alot in these? I want to make these but I mistakenly bought soy butter instead of sunbutter, and I don’t love the taste of it.
I made these yesterday to bring along on a cross-country flight with my 4-year-old, and they are very yummy! I attempted to circumvent the crumbling issue by packing the bars into a silicone muffin pan so I could just pop them out once cooled, without having to slice them. It worked pretty well, and I now have a freezer full of very tasty “granola rounds.” I do protest the characterization of these bars as “just barely sweet.”… To our tastes, they are a full-blown dessert. I doubt my kiddo will object. Thanks for the recipe!
Just made these last night for my peanut-allergic toddler and these are absolutely delicious! So many granola bars are off-limits due to the allergy so I appreciate this recipe. In case anyone wants to know (they probably don’t) it’s 210 calories, 3 grams protein (and 4 grams of fiber!) for each of the 16 pieces (and this is using just a little over half a cup of mini-choc chips instead of a full cup, otherwise recipe the same). Great for my 25th-percentile kiddo who needs to grow, but watch portion size for some others ;)
Thanks, Christina, for the information on calories, etc.! How did you calculate those?
I made these bars yesterday and they are wonderful! I plan to make them again to share at work. Thank you for the recipe!
I made these with a few little tweaks (because of what I had on hand–almond butter, golden raisins for the dried fruit) and 1 tablespoon cocoa instead of the chocolate. Divine! Practically made myself sick eating too many. Also, when the come out of the oven you can press them down again with an offset spatula and they’ll really compact nicely and cut beautifully. Thank you, again, Deb for the superb recipes.
Made these in a mini muffin pan, baked about 14 mins and they are delicious!
I have become addicted to this recipe and “have to” make it for kids’ lunches. I have been using 1 1/4 cup oats, as called for, but the volume conversion that I generally follow comes out to 100g = 1 cup of oats. Is there a reason for the skimpy conversion on this recipe? It’s coming out just fine but I wanted to ask. (And I love the crumbliness because then I have to clean up the pan. Ha.)
I love the flavor in the bars! I used tahini as you suggested in possible substitutions. It’s the second time I make them and when I cut into the bars, they fall apart. The first time I thought it was because I was too impatient to let them cool ; ) and needed to get to the dinner I was taking them to, but I let them cool overnight this time and some stayed together, but I still had a hefty pile of crumbs. Any suggestions? Do I just need to press harder in the packing-in step? Do you think upping the nut butter a tad would help? Thanks!
Lena — Sorry for the delay. When I’m in doubt I tend to default to the weights listed on the package. Both my canister of Quaker Quick and Old-Fashioned Oats clock a cup at 80 grams, so that was my rationale. I can imagine that different brands vary, and even parts of the box. I was getting towards the end of my canister where the bits are smaller and there’s more dust.
I *love* the taste of these. I think the six-year-old does, too. But she won’t come near them now, because they *always* crumble. I’ve tried multiple times, I’ve tried increasing the amount of maple syrup, and I’ve tried boiling the maple syrup as suggested in another comment. But this recipe just insists on coming out crumbly, and having to deal with the mess at school for her is a pain. I’ll be honest, even I eat them over the organic waste bin because they fall apart, even when frozen.
I make versions of these all the time for school (grad student life), and most often they’re crumbly, which I’m okay with. Today, with some experimentation, I solved the crumbliness! I added a heaping tablespoon of chia seeds to ~1/3 cup water and let is rest until it formed a jello-like substance. I mixed that in with the wet ingredients, then added it to the dry. They came out beautifully and have an added boost of omega 3s and protein!
Fascinated! I’ll try your chia solution – from a recently graduated grad student, thank you!! :) :)
Regarding pressing: I’ve been covering the top of the bars with a whole sheet of parchment and using a large, full can (like a 28 oz can of tomatoes) to roll the bars down. I can get more pressure on the bars and if I switch directions several times can cover the edges and corners pretty well with a few touch ups by hand. It works best in the larger 9×13 pan.
Amazing! So good. I might use a touch less sweetener next time, since the chocolate and fruit have lots of sugar already. Toddler and husband both agree these make a superior snack. :)
I made a 4x batch for the first time a few weeks ago for a school play. Made a double batch tonight for a school trip. We,love these, they are wonderful.
Wondering what your take is on millet? I used it in these bars and have made millet ‘burgers’ for years…new glut of info against miller for its ‘antinutrienrs’, etc.. It saddens me, the tirades against it. But even Sally Fallon advises so as long it b4 cooking it. Wondering what you and others think about this. The millet does add a nice crunch to these bars…
IRobin — I’m glad you’ve been enjoying the bars. I should admit that I’m not a good person to talk to about antinutrients or the like because I have trouble working up a real sense of worry about nutrients. I get to live in a country where food is plentiful and malnutrition is extremely scarce. I may not be getting 100% of what a food offers every time I cook it (parboiling vegetables, perhaps with millet) but I’m still getting a lot. That said, I know a lot of people swap in quinoa here. I haven’t fiddled around with using it for crunch in baked goods, however, because I don’t love the flavor.
So these granola bars taste amazing! I have been looking for a recipe for quite some time and I think that these fit the criteria. I used the full cup of chocolate which, again, is amazing but if you want to make these a little healthier I recommend putting in half a cup which is still plenty. I also added dried apricots and dates. Delicious.
The one downside: despite following this recipe to a “t” and chilling the pan really well afterwards I found these fell apart and crumbled terribly when trying to cut them with a sharp knife. We ended up with granola “shards” but thanks to the flavour will gladly eat them any way. Will try this recipe again and possibly add 1/3 cup of oil and nut butter to see if that helps them stick better.
Great recipe! Made this to include in my daughter’s lunches, as her school is completely nut-free. I didn’t include the coconut (she doesn’t like it), so I subbed some quick oats, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds, and used dried cranberries and chocolate chips. I added one mashed banana, just to get some more moisture into the batter. Came out beautifully! Zero issues with crumbling, bars are very moist, not too sweet, and millet adds a delightful crunch. She loves them!
Just a nit picky warning from someone with a dairy allergy… Most chocolate chips DO contain dairy, so it’s probably best not to lable these dairy free.
or just maybe suggest using Enjoy Life brand chips?
Deb, what would you use instead of coconut, which I don’t care for. Would you substitute anything for it, or just leave it out?
Perhaps additional oats or flaked almonds…
Please be sure if you are serving these to dairy free folks that the chocolate doesn’t have dairy. Otherwise they sound great. It’s wonderful that people are trying to avoid causing serious allergic reactions in others. Thank you all ❤️
These are amazing and delicious but they are 16 Weight Watchers points per bar! After figuring that out, I’m packing them up for the teachers at my kids school. :)
The kids didnt really love them like I was hoping. I made them with peanut butter, wheat germ, coconut oil, and maple syrup. They were good, just missing something. They were really easy to make!
Salt? Or perhaps a little tartness from dried fruit?
Hi Deb, I’ve made these once without the millet and they were great. Now I’ve bought the millet – do I rinse it first? I feel like wet grain would go soggy…
Thank you for providing such fun recipes for us nut-free / dairy-free folk! A rare find :)
These look awesome and will definitely try but…coconut is a tree nut. My kiddo is allergic to tree nuts and had a horrible reaction to coconu so not really “nut free.”
I based my information from this bit from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology:
Love this idea! Is this dairy free with the chocolate in it?
The chocolate chips we used are dark chocolate and do not contain dairy. Dark chocolate (bars or chips) is often dairy-free – just check the labels.
My favourite breakfast bar!!! Love this recipe
2nd time making these in one week! I used homemade almond butter in place of sun butter and halved the cherries and chocolate, and used some cranberries as well. such a fool-proof, healthy recipe! disappeared so quickly :)
Like the idea Deb, but just as an FYI if it has coconut, it isn’t nut free. Coconut is classified as a nut by the FDA. No shame in not knowing this, as I didn’t know It either until someone in my family developed an allergy. FAAN recommends asking your doctor if coconut is acceptable for those with tree nut alletgies, (it varies case by case,) but in the US if something is labeled nut free, it must also be coconut free. Ps- love your food, love your writing!
I made these last night, and ate the first one today – mine came out crumbly AF but OH MY GOD SO DELICIOUS! 100% will make again and excited to devour the rest of the pan I have now, crumbly or not. I used dried cranberries (cheaper than tart cherries, which I also love, but which my store was out of), peanut butter, dark chocolate chips, maple syrup, olive oil, and the millet called for in the original. YUM. Yum yum yum. Deb, you genius. <3 <3
So delicious! I didn’t have maple syrup or honey so I used 1/4 cup + a few spoons brown sugar and 1/4 cup water instead. Bars are crumblier than Deb’s but still stick together – figured I’d share in case anyone else couldn’t wait to buy honey before making these! For the filling I used 2 cups total of dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and chocolate chips which turned out great
I made these this weekend and they just fell apart. Not sure what I did wrong I followed the directions, but they were just crumbly. Tasted pretty good, but had too many chocolate chips. I would definitely cut down on that. My family likes them and wants me to make them again. Any suggestions for keeping them together?
Did you fully chill them in the fridge, too? Sometimes that helps when they’re not adhering otherwise.
I too have had issues with these being crumbly but I keep making them b/c my kids really love them. (“It’s fine Mom, we’ll just eat it with a spoon!”) Next time I’ll refrigerate, as you’ve suggested. This past batch I added more sunbutter and it helped a little, but didn’t eliminate crumbles. Any thoughts on whether trying either more or less of the oat flour could help?
I refrigerated and still had extremely crumbly bars. I’ve had trouble with other granola recipes, too. Curious, Deb, if you think I need to increase the wet ingredient measurements? Or perhaps could my chocolate and fruit chunks have been cut too large? Or do I need to press int for he pan more? Thanks
I love these bars! I am a chocolate lover so mine have no fruit. The question I have is that I have trouble getting the bars to cut right…they fall apart or they break apart when being cut into bars. I press mixture in pan until I can’t press anymore. This is the third time being made and this time I baked them for less time. Let them cool and put them in refrigerator before cutting. As I make the first cut they are breaking apart. What am I doing wrong? Could I use molasses instead of honey or maple syrup? Would appreciate any hints, thank you.
These technically are not Nut Free because of the coconut. Easy to change, but by the AAFA standards-coconut is an allergen.
I can’t wait to try this recipe minus the coconut.
See my response in this comment.
Third time’s the charm. Honey works better than maple syrup for chewiness and less crumbling; boiling it helps. Also needs a tad more seed butter. And there ya go.
Would adding an egg white to the wet ingredients help the bars hold together, like it does with the granola recipe in the cookbook? I cut them with no problems after chilling overnight and they hold together well while cold. But the bars fall apart when they come to room temp. I’m thinking maybe some additional “egg white glue” will help.
It can, although I haven’t tried it here yet. Very little to lose, though, just make sure it gets cooked through.
Deb, first of all want to say congrats on the cookbook! We have made the short rib tacos (AMAZING), 2 huge cookies (BEST IDEA EVER!) and eggs, and cant wait to try more. I have been obsessed with the “Krunch Bars” from Hawthorne Valley Farm that they sell at my farmer’s market (Morningside Heights). I am not sure whether they sell at Union Square. I wanted to mimic them at home but couldnt find an oat-less bar recipe online, so I used this recipe (with the oats). They came out SO delicious but I am sure you could make them even better! The ingredients include honey, coconut, cashews, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tahini and sea salt. Would love to see what you could come up with using this fabulous combination of ingredients if you ever get around to it! Thanks again for being the inspiration for basically all the meals I cook around here.
Hi, I made these bars today but when I cut them they fall apart. Any ideas? I used quinoa instead of millet and peanut butter because that is what I had on hand. Thank you.
Long-time reader… first-time commenter.
I LOVE these granola bars. My boyfriend and I are trying to eat healthier this year, so low-carb, low-sugar, less processed foods. We are officially addicted to these. They are lightyears better than the store-bought kind. I have made 4 or 5 batches now.
I have pretty much solved the crumbling issue by upping the coconut oil to 1/3 cup. I also add an extra spoonful of the seed butter. I’ve also had better results with maple syrup than honey (go figure). I also press (more like pound) the heck out of them when I put them into the pan. I use a jar instead of my hands, and really go to town. I also chill them for a whole day in the fridge (8-ish hours) before cutting. My latest batch, made last night, came out almost-crumble free (aside from a few seeds).
Other fun substitutions I’ve played around with… flax seeds, sunflower seeds, craisins, white chocolate chips… currently brainstorming a version with peanut butter chips.
I love these granola bars, but I have had trouble with them being too crumbly when I cooled and then cut them. I have another granola bar recipe that suggests cutting them immediately when they come out of the oven – so I tried that. I cut one batch with a knife – more pressing than cutting – and another batch with a tall heart-shaped cookie cutter. Then I let them cool completely in the pan before removing them on the parchment paper sling and separating the pieces. No crumbling at all! They were beautiful and tasty! I should add that I made them exactly as written except for the addition of a ripe mashed banana and an extra scoop of sun butter, which the comments suggested to help with crumbliness.
This was SO delicious, I had to keep my husband from eating it all before the kids got their hands on it! Thank you, your recipes save me time and time again:)
These were SO good, I had to keep my husband from eating it all before the kids got to them! I am making theses again, only I’m making 5x as much to share with friends… and give some to my husband too:)
Thank you, your recipes save me time and time again.
Made an almond joy version of these since I did not have any reason to avoid nuts with almond butter, almond flour and almonds. Also skipped the millet in lieu of more oats since I figured the almonds would provide plenty of crunch. Also used coconut oil and sweetened with agave since that’s what I had out on the counter. Were a bit crumbly in the center which makes me think they could have used another 5 min in the oven. Looking forward to breakfast this week.
I’ve made Deb’s other granola bars, and we liked them, but these are even better! The thinness of them and the not-so-sweetness of them are terrific. These are a keeper!! I tweaked the recipe ever so lightly, with dates and sweetened coconut (which was the only kind I had), and cut down on the honey as sweetener. These are terrific. One hint to avoid crumbling: I do recommend that you refrigerate them for a good while before trying to cut them into bars.
Sadly these did not appeal to either my kids or me—they were just too cloying and heavy. They’d be lighter and easier to eat without the cherries and sun butter, but would not hold together. Even after chilling they did not cut well, as written.
I followed the advice of the commenter who added mashed banana to the wet ingredients for additional moisture. I also warmed all the wet ingredients on the stove to a pourable consistency, so it mixed more easily with the dry ingredients. I used additional oats instead of millet and peanut butter instead of sun butter because that’s what I had.
Just pulled mine out of the refrigerator and sliced them. There was some very minor crumbling at the edges of each cut, but overall they stayed together really well! Had I left them for another hour they probably would have been perfect. Perhaps the additional banana/moisture is the secret to a sliceable consistency??
Made these a second time. Doubled the recipe, replaced honey with additional coconut oil because they don’t really need extra sweetener (to my taste) when using the mashed banana. Chilled them overnight and they were pretty much perfect in the morning! Delicious, hearty but not heavy and they sliced beautifully.
This is a great hit in my house, thanks so much!
Hey, If I used Quinoa instead, should I cook it first, or just leave it uncooked?
Uncooked but rinsed.
I made these “bars” last night and they are very good, especially crumbled on vanilla yogurt with fresh berries. My “bars” are very crumbly so hard to cut and serve. I didn’t make a sling just coated pan with cooking spray, not sure this method Affected the texture. Don’t miss the refined sugar or flour. I will make this recipe again.
Super good. Easy. Used tart cherries and followed recipe as written. Bars stayed together. High praise from toddlers and bike group. Will make again.
Made these this weekend. Thank you for the ingredient substitution suggestions — they allowed me to make these entirely from stuff I already had. I used quinoa in place of millet, tahini in place of sunflower butter and golden raisins as my dried fruit. The result was a bit difficult to slice, but soooooo good.
Just made them again. I think it’s worthwhile to (carefully!) press the mixture down again after taking them out of the oven but before they cool, since they seem to expand a bit while baking, and I’m guessing more gaps = more crumbliness. Cutting with a back-and-forth sawing motion also seems to be key.
Has anyone tried this with Deb’s peanutella subbed for sunflower butter?
I’m concerned if that’d burn while I’m baking the bars.
I wouldn’t. That’s more of a dessert sauce, not a nut butter.
Hi! Could I toss in some brown “rice crispies” instead of the millet? Thanks!
I am not certain. I have seen it in other recipes but haven’t had a lot of success with it staying crispy after it bakes.
I made these tonight using peanut butter to be used for school (and post-bedtime for us) snacks and they were quite tasty (no allergy issues at our school)! They were loaded with chocolate and while I am known to devour entire bars of baking chocolate as is in times of need, I think I would reduce the amount for these bars so as to avoid him bouncing off the walls all afternoon. They did need a few hours in the fridge to make it possible to cut them without falling apart but I’m wondering if I can make them even more chewy and less crumbly than they turned out. More nut butter?
I made these granola bars following the recipe and ai too found that they were extremely crumbly, hard to cut and were very fragile once cut. The recipe might need to add an extra I gradient for moisture?
I think this is my new favourite granola bar! I love that it’s not too sweet, and the crunch from the millet is lovely. I had absolutely no trouble slicing – even fewer crumbles than with the thick chewy granola bars on this site. A couple of things I did differently, as I am not restricted by dairy/nuts:
– butter instead of oil
– smooth peanut butter instead of sunflower seed butter
– golden syrup as the sweetener
– wholemeal flour instead of oat flour (couldn’t be bothered with washing up the grinder).
I chilled for 3 hours and then cut with my sharpest knife, no sawing. Definitely going to be making these again :)
I made this using dried cranberries. So good. I heated the oil, golden syrup and peanut butter. I also used a little less golden syrup and added in sweetened condensed milk at the end. (I opened a can recently and have been trying to find uses for it.) I did not use parchment paper, but did chill throughly before turning them out of the greased pan. They only crumbled a little when I cut them.
About to make these for the 4th or 5th time! :) I’m wondering if it would make sense to substitute some or all of the oat flour for protein powder?
These are so good! Like homemade KIND bars!
After reading the comments I made these with a mashed up banana, and wow they are delicious. Crispy on the edges, soft and chewy in the middle, not crumbly at all. I think the extra moisture really helps and it doesn’t really end up with a banana-forward taste. It’s more like just a level of background sweetness.
I used some wheat bran in place of the millet, and whole wheat flour in place of the oat flour because I was too lazy to break out the food processor to grind the oats. For mix ins I did sunflower seeds, pepitas, pecans, (dried fruit isn’t my favorite) and less than half of the chocolate chip volume. Almond butter, maple syrup, and coconut oil for the liquid. It’s a winning combo and I can’t wait for breakfast this week.
I have made these many times for my granddaughter , who loves them! I usually double the recipe. My one complaint is that they crumble easily , even after refrigerating for a significant period of time before cutting. Much of it ends up as (tasty) granola and I find many crumbles all over the kitchen floor! Any tips?
Hi!! I love these but how do I make them less crumbly? any suggestions?