The impending occasion of Father’s Day seems as good a time as any to share this awesome chewy granola bars recipe with you! I don’t know what it is about Father’s Day, but all the stores promote buying Dad some soon-to-be forgotten gadget, gaudy tie or otherwise not-needed accessory. In my family, we try always to make something homemade as at least part of Dad’s gift — a card, a craft, a special food — it doesn’t have to be fancy, but it shows that at least he’s worth the time it takes to plan and make something special for him!
I wish I still lived close to my dad. I would definitely make these treats for him this year — I know he would love them! They’re portable and easy to eat on the run, since my dad never sits still (unless he’s reading yet another book); they’re full of nutrition and yummy energy, which my dad needs to run, play tennis, golf, roller blade, swim … and work as an emergency hospital veterinarian; they’re super tasty, since he won’t compromise on taste; and perhaps most importantly, they’re gluten-free, since he shares absolutely everything with my celiac mom!
Come to think of it though, there’s one more great thing about these bars: they’ll ship! Dad, you might be getting these for Father’s Day, after all!
So make these for your dad or special someone … or for yourself! Since you’re in charge, add the ingredients you like or have on hand, and choose only the ones that meet your family’s dietary requirements. Gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, vegan, easily nut-free, but oh so full of flavor! Feel good about all that healthy fiber and nutrition you’ll be getting from gluten-free oats, nuts, flaxseed meal, veggies and fruit, all packed into portable yumminess!
(Note: this recipe was previously shared by NFCA during their webinar, “The Gluten-Free Athlete: Improving Performance Through Diet” and this recipe, as well as over 149 more, is also available in my new cookbook, Free for All Cooking: 150 Easy Gluten-Free, Allergy-Friendly Recipes the Whole Family Can Enjoy!)
Chewy Granola Bars
- 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
- ½ cup gfJules™ All Purpose Flour
- 3 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats, rice flakes, or quinoa flakes (gfJules™ Certified GF Oats)
- 2 tablespoons cinnamon
- 1 cup grated carrots
- ¾ cup baking raisins (or boil raisins in water, drain, then add to the recipe) or sultanas
- ½ cup dried apples, chopped
- ½ cup dried bananas, chopped
- ½ cup figs, chopped (approximately 5 figs)
- ½ cup grated coconut (unsweetened)
- ¼ cup dates, chopped
- ¼ cup dried cranberries, blueberries, cherries or other dried berry of choice
- 1 cup walnuts, chopped (if making nut-free, substitute with sunflower seeds)
- ½ cup agave nectar, honey, or maple syrup
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup Blackstrap molasses
- ½ cup sunflower nut butter (if making nut-free) or “natural” peanut, almond, or cashew butter (Earth Balance® Natural Peanut Butter with Flaxseed)
- ½ cup unsweetened apple juice or cider (Vruit® Apple-Carrot juice)
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Line a jelly roll baking pan with aluminum foil and spray with cooking oil.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flaxseed meal, gluten-free flour, oats, cinnamon, fruits and nuts of your choice (in similar proportions to those listed above). When fully combined, stir in the agave nectar, applesauce, molasses, nut butter, and juice, mixing with a large wooden spoon until totally incorporated. The mixture should be wet enough to press together for baking.
If you like your granola bars with lots of crunchy texture, use this wooden spoon or stand mixer (with flat paddle) mixing method. If you prefer a smoother texture, where the individual ingredients are more integrated, use a large food processor to combine all the ingredients — if your processor bowl is 14 cups or smaller, this may have to be done by dividing the ingredients in half and mixing in two batches.
Scoop the combined mixture into the bottom of the prepared baking pan and press down with the back of a rubber spatula or your wet hands. Bake for 30 minutes or just until the edges begin to brown slightly.
Remove from the oven and cut into bars using a pizza cutter before fully cooled. To remove bars when cooled, simply lift the foil edges out of the jelly roll pan and store the cut bars in a zip top bag at room temperature or freeze.