Until recently, I thought most granola bars fell into two categories: Cardboard-dry and flavorless or as sugary as a Snickers bar.
By Sarah Gish
But after working on this story about homemade granola bars, they’ve become my go-to snack. The story includes recipes for super-healthy no-bake peanut butter bars studded with seeds, kid-friendly chocolate chip bars and loaded gluten-free bars. The latter recipe is by Kansas City baker Chelsea Williams, who operates Chelsea’s Bakehaus out of Opera House Coffee & Food Emporium in the River Market.
I’m a fan of Chelsea’s Star Bars — which are sold at local shops like Oddly Correct in KC and Alchemy Coffee in Lawrence — so I was happy to have this similar recipe, which satisfies a sweet tooth but is loaded with good-for-you ingredients like pumpkin seeds, oats, dried cherries and almonds.
The bars are big enough to share — but so good, you won’t want to. If you aren’t sensitive to gluten, use conventional old-fashioned rolled oats and 2 tablespoons of whole-wheat flour instead of 6 tablespoons of gluten-free flour.
Chelsea’s gluten-free granola bars
Makes at least 16 bars
2 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
1 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
6 tablespoons gluten-free flour (Chelsea prefers Bob’s Red Mill, which contains garbanzo, tapioca, sorghum and fava flours and potato starch)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup shelled seeds of choice (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, flax or a combination)
1 cup puffed brown rice cereal
1 1/2 to 2 cups mixed dried fruit (we used cranberries, cherries and nectarines)
1 cup honey, agave syrup or maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil, canola oil or melted unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease an 8- by 8-inch pan (or double the recipe for a 9- by 13-inch pan) and line with parchment paper. Lightly grease the parchment paper.
Mix oats, toasted almonds, flour, salt, seeds, brown rice cereal and dried fruit. In a saucepan, warm syrup, oil (or butter) and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved, then add vanilla.
Pour hot liquid over the oat mixture and stir together well. Press into pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly golden. Mixture will harden as it cools so be careful not to overbake. Cool for 10 minutes, then cut into bars of desired size.
Per bar: 314 calories (28 percent from fat), 10 grams total fat (1 gram saturated), no cholesterol, 52 grams carbohydrates, 7 grams protein, 84 milligrams sodium, 8 grams dietary fiber.
Sarah Gish writes dining and bar guides for Ink magazine. She also writes a monthly cooking story for The Star’s Food section, contributes regularly to Chow Town and tweets @sarah_gish.