Peanut Butter Lovers Granola Bars (Gluten-Free, Oil-Free)

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Quaker peanut butter granola bars used to be my weakness. They are sweet, moist, chewy and delicious! So, as I was strolling down the cereal isle at the grocery store, I decided to look at the ridiculous list of ingredients on the box. I lost count…there must have been 20+ ingredients, which of course included corn syrup solids, oils and the worst…ARTIFICIAL sweetners! I will not buy or eat a single thing with artificial ingredients. They are terrible and caused me terrible stomach pains and migraines in the past.

Mine contain no butter, no oil, no weird ingredients and are gluten-free with a smaller list of ingredients! The batter honestly was so delicious, I debated just eating it without bothering to bake at all.

These are the most versatile bars for breakfast or an energy snack during the day. They are delicious with just the peanut butter, but if you want the peanut butter chocolate chip style, add the chocolate chips. I also drizzled mine with some peanut butter chocolate sauce….hey I couldn’t resist!

Recipe:  Makes 6 bars  Prep time: 10 mins  Cook time: 25-30 mins

Gluten free (Make sure all ingredients are labeled in a gluten free facility if you’re gluten sensitive, in case of cross contamination)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup all natural creamy peanut butter with no additives (do not use a brand with added oils or sugars, I use Santa Cruz because it is only peanuts and a small amount of salt)

1/2 cup pure grade A maple syrup or agave

1 cup organic gluten free Koala crisp chocolate cereal or Bear River Valley Choco Chomp  (grapenuts cereal will also work if you’re not concerned about wheat/gluten)

1 cup quick cooking oats (Bob’s Red Mill gluten free if you prefer)

1 tablespoon ground flaxseed

1 tablespoon tapioca starch

1 teaspoon Madagascar bourbon vanilla extract

1/4 cup apple juice

1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life brand-see link)

Update: This recipe has been updated with a couple of minor changes. A reader stated she had troubłe with them retaining their shape. I made them again by adding tapioca and apple juice and it really helped the bars stick together and hold their shape much better. They turned out even better! I aim to please my readers.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the koala crisp cereal, oats, tapioca starch and chocolate chips together in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, combine the apple juice and flaxseed and whisk with a fork and set aside for 5 minutes. Then add the peanut butter, syrup, vanilla to the flaxseed mixture and stir well. Combine the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir well until it is sticky and well incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to help press the mixture together. Line a 5X9 loaf pan with parchment paper hanging over the sides (for easy removal and cutting) and spread the batter evenly with a rubber spatula and press down flat and hard. If you place another piece of parchment paper on top, you can press down really hard without getting your hands sticky. This method works best for the bars to hold their shape. Bake for 25-30 minutes until firm and golden brown. I took mine out at 26 minutes. Cool 20 minutes, then slice them with a very sharp knife while they are still mildly warm and in the pan. Leave them in the pan to cool at least another 30 minutes, then drizzle the chocolate sauce (if using) over them. They will firm up once cool. After they have completely cooled, then remove them with the parchment paper. Store in the fridge to retain their firmness.

Optional peanut butter chocolate drizzle:

2 tablespoons vegan chocolate chips

1 teaspoon peanut butter

1 teaspoon coconut oil or grapeseed oil

Combine all ingredients in a coffee mug, microwave for 30 seconds, stir, microwave again for 20-30 seconds, being careful not to burn. Microwave a few more seconds if necessary. Stir until melted and smooth and drizzle with a spoon over the completely cooled bars. Let chocolate harden by room temperature or in the fridge. Store bars in the fridge.

Nutrition per bar (without chocolate chips):  283 calories/11g fat/40 carbs/7g protein (6 bars)

Remember, peanut butter is a healthy fat and these bars have healthy, REAL ingredients!

With chocolate chips: 329 calories/14g fat/47 carbs/8g protein

ENJOY, I know you will!

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Categories: Breakfast, Chocolate, Gift Ideas, Gluten Free, Snacks, Sweet Treats, VEGAN, VEGETARIAN

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26 Comments on “Peanut Butter Lovers Granola Bars (Gluten-Free, Oil-Free)”

  1. September 19, 2012 at 3:41 PM #

    My kids would love them!

  2. September 19, 2012 at 3:58 PM #

    Since there is a double dog dare on the table, I have to try these. Have everything but the Koala cereal. Love granola bars these look great and like you won’t eat something with all the artificial stuff. Very nice!

    • September 19, 2012 at 5:53 PM #

      Hahaha! They are sooo yummy and more moist than Quaker, in my opinion, that I had to throw the double dog there in there, lol! There’s another all natural chocolate crisp cereal out there called Bear River that’s really good here too, it’s not GF but delish. I actually made 2 batches of each cereal and prefer the Bear River. Enjoy! 🙂

  3. September 19, 2012 at 7:44 PM #

    I need these in my life plain and simple 😀

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  4. September 20, 2012 at 4:00 PM #

    Brandi, yours look SO much better than the quaker variety!

    • September 20, 2012 at 6:25 PM #

      Thank you Somer!! Honestly, I think they taste better too…much more moist and full of REAL flavor! 🙂

  5. September 22, 2012 at 11:23 AM #

    Waw! Georgous, beautiful & tasty looking healthy bars! MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

    • September 23, 2012 at 5:06 AM #

      Thank you so much Sophie!! They are a super yummy and healthy bar!! I’m addicted to them, guilt free too! 🙂

  6. petit4chocolatier
    September 23, 2012 at 8:19 PM #

    I love these! Triple yummy!!!

  7. TIffany Cockrell
    September 23, 2012 at 11:17 PM #

    Omg!! These are so delicious!! Brandi you so rock!!!

    • September 24, 2012 at 12:40 AM #

      I’m so glad you loved them girl, now save some for your hubby and son, lol! 🙂

  8. nicolee404
    September 28, 2012 at 3:26 AM #

    Love your blog! I can’t wait to try your recipes!

    • September 28, 2012 at 4:24 AM #

      Thank you so much Nicole!! I hope you do and let me know if you try them! 🙂

  9. Jennifer Bandy, MA
    October 2, 2012 at 2:10 PM #

    definitely going to try this, thank you!

    • October 2, 2012 at 4:38 PM #

      Thank you so much Jennifer! I hope you do and let me know if you like it! 🙂

  10. Anonymous
    April 10, 2013 at 8:10 PM #

    Taste good but a crumbled mess 😦

    • April 10, 2013 at 8:28 PM #

      Really?? That’s odd, I’m so sorry to hear that! I’ve made them multiple times and never had them crumble. They are tender but should be a crumble mess. I’m curious, did you let the flaxseed mixture set up as well as letting them completely cool before slicing and then firm up in the fridge? I have noted to store in the fridge because they retain their shape best that way. It helps to really press the mixture down with parchment paper before baking as well. I will make them again and see if there is something I can improve upon their hold, etc. It’s been awhile since I’ve made them. I’m glad you enjoyed the taste of them at least.

    • April 10, 2013 at 8:36 PM #

      Also, did you by chance sub any of the ingredients?

    • April 11, 2013 at 4:36 AM #

      Ok, I made two batches tonight to compare…one with the recipe as written and one with a couple of ingredient additions and changed the cooking time. Please note the recipe instructions. While my first batch didn’t “crumble”, I knew they could be held together better. I care about my readers and as food recipe creators and bloggers, we are always adapting or trying to improve, when necessary. I found the second batch to be so much better and a stronger bar, while they tasted exactly the same. I added tapioca because it is a starch that has wonderful binding qualities and apple juice to compensate for the starch and make the batter wetter, so it stuck more while baking. They turned out fabulous. Thanks so much for your feedback and I hope you’ll try them again with the changes! I truly appreciate you following my blog 🙂

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