Gluten free and dairy free…
…these soft bars are crammed with flavour and nutrition! The oats get a flavour boost from a quick toast in the oven, but the bars themselves are not baked – resulting in a very moist & chewy texture.
(Not having as much dried cranberries as I thought, I added raisins. I also threw in a few chopped peanuts!)
Easy as…. muffins!
As outlined in my recent post on super moist blueberry zucchini muffins you use the ‘muffin method’ for mixing the bars. After toasting the dry ingredients, the wet ingredients are mixed – and then it’s all combined. The cranberries & almonds are then thoroughly mixed in, for even distribution (most helpful when cutting into bars!)
How the recipe came about…
In researching making granola bars, specifically soft ones, there is an enormous amount of info. Many recipes said to bake them, and that just seemed counter productive to what I wanted. I even found a recipe that included flour, which seemed just sort of…. odd, and a few recipes used eggs as a binding ingredient.
All I knew for sure, so far, was I wanted them to be a variation on my GF maple walnut righteous granola just because it’s so darn good. Once I started finding recipes that called for not baking the bars I knew right away that’s what I wanted to do. Toasting the oats in the oven for a few minutes before mixing gives them some oomph. Honey helps them stick together – literally!
Make them yours!
You can change up the flavour from cranberry & almond by subbing in whatever combo of fruit and/or nuts that you like – just make sure the nuts are chopped (or sliced)! You could simply add a cup of trail mix that includes a mixture of both… how awesome is that~
Chewy Cranberry Almond Granola Bars
- 3 cups gluten free rolled oats i.e. Bob’s Red Mill
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 teaspoons ground flax seed
- 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup almonds chopped or use sliced for a softer texture
Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Line an 8” x 8” baking pan with foil (including up the sides) then lightly spray or oil it.
Combine the rolled oats, coconut & ground flax seed on a foil or parchment lined sheet pan and bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until golden, giving a good stir halfway through. Remove from oven and scrape into heatproof bowl.
Combine the olive oil, honey, vanilla, cinnamon & salt in small bowl. Pour over toasted oat mixture, stirring to thoroughly combine.
While mixture is still warm add in the cranberries & almonds, stirring well for even distribution. Scrape into prepared pan, pressing down very hard & thoroughly. (A must-do to help them set up for cutting!) Chill for at least 2 hours. Cut into bars and serve. They will soften as they warm up.
*be sure any nuts you use are chopped or sliced; if they're too big they'll cause the bars to crumble when cutting. If some do crumble, no biggie, eat as is or serve as granola!
**you could use 1/2 cup of trail mix to replace the cranberries & almonds.