Since school snacks are now a hot topic for parents around the country, I thought I would re-post this granola bar recipe which has been a reader favorite. Some of the most difficult nut-free products to find are nut-free granola bars, which is too bad because they make great, relatively healthy snacks for kids and adults.
My recipe is fast, easy and both kid and adult-friendly. It's also easy to alter to your tastes and food allergy needs. You can omit the SunButter or use soy butter if you need to and replace the chocolate chips (or combine them with) Ocean Spray Craisins or raisins. If you need to avoid eggs, add a little more honey as a binder and/or even a small amount of unsweetened applesauce (see the recipe below). Experiment with your kids until you find the combinations you like best.
A word about chocolate chips: If you want nut-free chocolate chips only, then check out Vermont Nut Free Chocolate for delicious varieties. If you would like egg-free, dairy-free and nut-free chips, Divvies and Enjoy Life Foods sell them. I also use Hershey brand semi-sweet chocolate chips because we only need to avoid nuts, not dairy. After many communications with Hershey and many years of using certain of their products, I feel confident about them.
Make a batch of these for after school snacks, during school snacks and lunchtime treats.
The Nut-Free Mom's Nut-Free Oatmeal Granola Bars
2 cups old-fashioned oats, uncooked
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup packed brown sugar (light or dark)
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (or dried fruit, or both)
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ; I use Kretchum brand (or in a pinch, use same amount of whole wheat flour but the wheat germ really gives it that "granola" taste)
3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt (Morton's makes this)
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup SunButter brand sunflower seed spread (or soybutter), optional
1 large egg (if going egg-free, use 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce instead)
2 tsp vanilla extract (Nielsen-Massey or McCormick's are my faves)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 x 13 inch pan with Pam.
- In a large bowl with a wooden spoon, mix oats, flour, brown sugar, chocolate chips, wheat germ or wheat flour and salt until blended. Stir in oil, honey, SunButter, egg or applesauce and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Pat mixture into pan with a wet hand (so you won't stick too much).
- Bake until golden around the edges, 18-20 minutes for chewier bars, 25-30 minutes for crispier bars. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
- When cool, cut lengthwise into bars of your preferred size. I did four strips, each into four pieces for a total of 16 bars.