Yesterday was a long and wonderful beach day. We, along with 100,000 of our closest friends, decided that Ocean City Maryland was the place to be. By the time we made the drive home it was almost 7 o’clock and we were beat, so we stopped at the grocery store for take-and-bake pizzas. While we were there we picked up just a few things we were out of, since we’re trying to rely mostly on what we already have in the pantry. T convinced me, though, that he really really really *pretty please mom* needed cereal, so he got a box. So E, who does not like cereal, felt slighted and begged for granola bars. But granola bars I assured her, those are something I can make for you at home!
The beauty of this recipe is how versatile it is. E wants to try peanut butter, though that might simply be because her brother can’t eat it and she wants them all for herself. All manner of dried fruits or nuts or seeds or candies would work. I have a lot of fruit syrups in my pantry that I’d like to try for a fruity flavor too. As a note, if I had maple syrup that would have been my liquid sweetener of choice. Since I didn’t, I will admit, I used corn syrup. Every baked good I’ve made with agave has ended up thrown out because no one in the house would eat it. So while I’m trying to make the adjustment to more healthful baking, I’m trying to slowly move a little more and a little more in that direction.
Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars
4.5 cups oatmeal (I used 4 cups instant and 1/2 cup old fashioned – You’ll get a different texture with each one)
1 cup gluten-free flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill Pizza Crust without the yeast)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup Earth Balance Spread, softened
1/3 cup plus 1/6 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup liquid sweetener
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup dairy free chocolate chips
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a 9×13 inch pan.
Mix all the ingredients except the chocolate chips together until well combined. Add the chips and mix well. Using your hands pat the mixture into the prepared pan, trying to get it as even as possible. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until starting to brown on top. Let cool completely in pan. Then put the pan in the fridge to allow them to be a little less crumbly. Cut into squares or sticks.
I’m going to try out some different variations since oatmeal is one thing I have a *ton* of in my pantry. Plus these would be great lunchbox treats during the school year. One pan could last me a week or two in lunches!