Allergen-Free Granola Bars

I decided recently that I wanted to make some granola bars for my Certain Little Someone, so I began to search for a recipe. And search. And search. And search some more. Seriously, I could not find a single recipe to meet my needs.

I guess I probably was asking for too much:

-wheat-free

-dairy-free

-soy-free

-non-perishable

-not crumbly

-not too chewy (He’s only 14 months!)

-nut-free

-at least semi-healthy (no corn syrup, minimal sugar, no M&Ms, no marshmallows)

-not a lot of weird ingredients

That’s a tall order, apparently! Since I found nothing in my multiple searches, I decided to make my own recipe based on several that I found. One website suggested that fat was not necessary in a granola bar because it separates the ingredients rather than helping them bind together, which appealed to me because that would take care of the dairy and soy problem. Unfortunately, those granola bars fell to pieces and ended up more like granola (at least now I know how to make granola, right?!), so I made another batch with coconut oil and was successful.

None of the top 8 allergens are present in this recipe, although it is not gluten-free, unless you use specifically gluten-free oats and oat bran. I did use corn flakes, but if you have corn allergies, rice flakes would work just as well, I think. As far as coconut oil, there is controversy as to whether or not coconut should be avoided by those with tree nut allergies: manufacturers are now required to declare it as an allergen in their products, but very few people are actually allergic to coconut. It’s up to you: although we avoid tree nuts, my son is not allergic to them as far as we know, and I use coconut oil and coconut milk extensively in his food without a problem. Instead of coconut oil, you could try sunflower or canola oil. What I like about coconut oil is that it is solid below a certain temperature, which I felt would be a good property for granola bars.

You can mix up the dried fruits and chocolate with whatever dried fruits you have on hand (apricots, cherries, blueberries, etc.), just keeping the ratio of fruit to grains. As for the chocolate, I chopped up 2 oz of Baker’s semi-sweet baking chocolate, which doesn’t have any dairy, but it does have soy lecithin. My Certain Little Someone doesn’t have a problem with soy lecithin, but if your child is sensitive to it, you can use Enjoy Life chocolate chips, which are totally free of soy.

Allergen-Free Granola Bars

2 cups oats

1 cup corn (or other grain) flakes

1 cup puffed rice

1/2 cup oat bran

1/4 cup coconut oil

2/3 cup honey

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup dried raisins

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate

Spread the oats evenly in a cookie sheet and toast in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes, until golden. While they are toasting, heat the oil, honey and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer for a few minutes. When the oats are toasted, mix them with the corn flakes, puffed rice and oat bran until thoroughly combined. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture and stir thoroughly. Add salt, and allow to cool for several minutes. When cool, carefully stir in the dried fruit and chocolate. Turn heat down to 300F and press the granola mixture into a greased or parchment-lined 9×13 pan. Press firmly so that the mixture is as solidly packed as possible. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, and allow to cool for several hours. They will be soft when you first remove them from the oven, but if you leave them to cool adequately, they will harden into a nice chewy granola bar. Cut into bars with a serrated knife.

My Certain Little Someone will not stop eating these! I think I may perhaps have created a monster. Although, I have to admit that I like to sneak a bite or two when he’s not looking 😉

 

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