No-Bake Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars {Gluten-Free}

As a mom of young kids, it is vitally important that I always have at least a couple of snacks packed in my bag whenever we leave the house. Store-bought granola bars are a great option due to their portability and long shelf life, but even the “healthier” brands have a longer ingredient list than I would like, not to mention too much added sugar. Homemade granola bars solve those issues, and this recipe is super easy and quick!

The bars do not need to be baked, so they’re ready to eat in mere minutes. They’re soft & chewy with a healthy balance of nutrition and unrefined sweetener; and, of course, they’re absolutely delicious!

 

No-Bake Chewy Chocolate Chip Granola Bars {Gluten-Free}

by Lauren Zembron (adapted from Present Glo Bars in The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 0 minutes

Ingredients (12 bars)

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats (you can certainly use regular old fashioned rolled oats if you don’t need a gluten-free recipe)
  • 1 1/4 cups crispy brown rice cereal (naturally gluten-free; I love the Erewhon brand)
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup or honey
  • 1/4 cup all natural unsweetened peanut butter (the only ingredients should be peanuts and salt; you can also use almond butter)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan (a 7 x 11 rectangular pan also works) with parchment paper going both ways, making sure to leave enough overhang to assist you in taking the granola bars out of the pan.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, crispy rice cereal, and salt.

In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the brown rice syrup and peanut butter. Microwave for 30 seconds, or until the peanut butter has liquified. Add in the vanilla extract and stir until completely combined and smooth.

Spoon the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until well-combined. Make sure you scrape all of the wet ingredients out of the bowl and into the dry ingredients.

Stir in the chocolate chips.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan and, using lightly wetted hands, press into an even layer. Lay an additional sheet of parchment paper on top of the mixture and firmly roll a pastry roller over the top to compact the mixture.

Place in the freezer to chill for 10 minutes. Lift the granola bars out of the pan by picking up the overhanging parchment paper, place on a cutting board, and cut into bars.

Store bars individually wrapped in an airtight container in the fridge.

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One-Bowl Whole Wheat Banana Flax Muffins

The kids and I spent three weeks at my parent’s house this summer, (before meeting up again with John for a week in the Outer Banks with his family), and my mom’s banana muffins were a HUGE hit. I think she made at least one batch each week that we were down there, that’s how much everyone loved them. I obviously had to get the recipe from her, and – as promised on my Facebook page – here it is!

I almost always use whole wheat pastry flour when making baked goods in order to achieve the perfect balance of hearty nutrition and soft texture, but these muffins use regular 100% whole wheat flour without sacrificing the end result; the muffins still turn out fluffy and light.

Maple syrup is the only sweetener, and the muffins get an added dose of fiber and protein from ground flaxseed.

Need yet another incentive to make these muffins?! They require only one bowl, (well, a food processor bowl), so prep and cleanup are quick and easy.

My mom freezes the muffins in a ziplock bag as soon as they’ve cooled off from the oven, and I think that it’s a vital step to take if you want the muffins to maintain their light texture. Just toss one (or a couple) in the microwave for about 30-45 seconds and you’ll be rewarded with just-baked flavor and texture.

These one-bowl whole wheat banana flax muffins are the perfect antidote to busy school day and workday mornings, when there’s no time to whip up a filling and nutritious sit-down breakfast. They also make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack.

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One-Bowl Whole Wheat Banana Flax Muffins

by Lauren Zembron

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (12 muffins)

  • 1/2 cup neutral-flavored vegetable oil, such as safflower
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 eggs, preferably organic
  • 2 large, or 3 medium-sized, ripe bananas
  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (you could also use whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp Kosher salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners or lightly coat with oil.

In a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine the oil, maple syrup, and eggs; process until smooth.

Add in the bananas and process; you can process until the mixture is perfectly smooth, or you can leave a few small chunks of banana throughout the batter.

Add in the flour, ground flaxseed, baking soda, and salt; pulse a few times, then remove the lid of the food processor and stir the batter until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Using an ice cream scoop or large spoon, evenly divide the batter amongst the prepared muffin cups. The cups will be filled almost to the top.

Bake at 375°F for 22-25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.

Let cool in the muffin tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack; let cool completely.

Store cooled muffins in an airtight container in the freezer. To heat, microwave for 30-45 seconds.

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