Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

by Erin, The $5 Dinner Mom on September 12, 2011

The first snack featured on After School Snack week comes from Nancy at Real Food, Allergy Free.

Have hungry kids with bottomless stomachs? Here’s an allergy-friendly snack that is sure to satisfy them. Even if your family is food allergy free, you will want to make these granola bars.

Here’s why:

  • They are delicious! They are chewy, chocolaty goodness with bursts of sour from the Craisins.
  • They are satisfying. Unlike store bought granola bars, these guys stick to your ribs.
  • They are made of real food. No preservatives, food coloring, corn syrup or soy products here.

Feel free to use “regular” oats, flour and chocolate chips if you can tolerate them and that’s what you have on hand. You can even use butter instead of the coconut oil.

These granola bars freeze well, so go ahead and make a double batch!

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Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars

Yield – 12 large bars

Preparation Time – 10 minutes

Cooking Time – 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup Coconut Oil, softened
  • 1 cup Honey
  • 4 ½ cups Gluten-Free Rolled Oats (aka, Oatmeal)
  • 1 cup Gluten-Free Oat Flour (See how to make oat flour in the blender)
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • ½ cup Craisins
  • ½ cup Allergy-Friendly Chocolate Chips (I use Enjoy Life Brand)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9×13 inch pan with coconut oil.
  • In a large bowl, beat coconut oil and honey until well blended.
  • Add oats, oat flour and baking soda and beat until combined.
  • Stir in Craisins and chocolate chips. Press mixture into baking pan. Press well or the bars will fall apart.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.
  • Let cool 10-15 minutes before cutting into bars. Cool completely in the refrigerator before removing from pan or they might fall apart.

Cost $7.46 or 4.26 with “regular” ingredients

Note: You can substitute regular rolled oats and regular instant oats ground into oat flour if you are not dealing with food allergies.

Nancy is a God fearing, family loving, and homeschooling mom to four. You can find her at Real Food, Allergy Free where she shares her family’s favorite recipes that are free of the top 8 common food allergens (egg, dairy, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish, peanut, tree nut).

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise September 12, 2011 at 11:15 am

Adding to favorites- I homeschool my kids and I’m teaching my oldest 2 cooking 1-2 times a week as part of school! (what a blessing that has been to me many, many times!!). This looks like something they could easily do on their own! Awesome:)

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JanaC2 September 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm

This past week, I have finally made the leap into gluten-free living. Not sure if I will go back just to get properly tested, but I am enjoying a reprieve of my overwhelmingly long list of symptoms in the meantime! I sincerely appreciate this recipe as I am preparing to transition the entire family over to gluten-free soon (and the kids already have allergies to nut, dairy, egg, flax and many fruits). This is actually a recipe we can ALL enjoy! Thank you!!

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Crissy September 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I have made granola bars in the past, but always have trouble keeping them together. My kids don’t care they love them so much they’ll eat them even if they end up being a bunch of crumbles but the mom in me wants them to be less messy. Any suggestions?

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Jeri September 17, 2011 at 11:37 am

I just wanted to point out that corn syrup and soy are “real food”. They are not something someone just made up in a lab. They both start out in the fields that I can see out my window.

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Susan April 3, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Hi Jeri, soy and corn can be real foods ~ they can be grown in gardens and fields around the world and when eaten whole or ground to make flour or fermented foods they can be nutritious and delicious for folks who don’t have allergies to them. However, many times they are genetically modified crops and are heavily processed to make ingredients that are far different from what we think of as real food growing in our fields. Corn syrup in particular requires a surprisingly lengthy chemical process developed in a lab and carried out using specialized additives in an industry setting, i.e. not something that regular folks at home can do under normal circumstances. Real foods can come in many different forms, but if we can’t replicate a food item by starting with recognizable whole foods and household kitchen equipment then the original food has probably been processed beyond recognition of what would constitute desirable eats to people concerned with “real food”. Most foods have been processed in one way or another, but the key is to see if you can follow the process in your mind’s eye from whole form to what you see at the grocery store. Ground beef has been processed but it’s easy to imagine that process ~ the cow was butchered, the meat was ground up and packaged for sale. With whole grain flour we can picture it being harvested, washed, ground, sifted, and packaged. If you google “how to make corn syrup” you’ll find recipes on how to make a substitute at home, using a simple syrup made from cane sugar, not corn. You might also run across a video of two guys who attempted to make a batch of corn syrup in their kitchen and couldn’t replicate it. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but it would be difficult and it’s not easy to picture how you can get sugar out of a starchy vegetable. In comparison, olive oil, almond flour, tofu, wine, coconut milk, etc. are all foods that have been changed from their original, whole form but 1) still retain many properties of the original food and 2) could be made from scratch at home using simple methods. Other sweeteners like honey and maple syrup can potentially be obtained from one’s backyard and in terms of eating “real food” these would be much more desirable to include in one’s diet.

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Tracy April 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Um, can someone help me. Coconut oil is soft but you can melt it. so softened means…? I want to make these but I am chicken to have a mess on my hands if I dont’ get it right because I screwed up the ingredients. thanks. tracy

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joanne b. June 2, 2012 at 10:19 pm

These look great, but my son has a severe allergy to coconut. Any ideas to sub that out to make these?

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