I struggle with snacks. Seems like my kids eat deli turkey meat or fruit. And there's nothing wrong with that, but every few weeks they refuse both, probably because they're so sick of it over and over again. I've seen some granola bar posts by fellow bloggers, and have been hesitant to try. Why, you ask? Well, my kid are super picky about texture. Oats are one of those things that really need to be mushy before they'll eat. In cookies, they will pass if the oats aren't cooked enough and still have that hard and grainy texture. I took a gamble with these, and it seems I won. This is probably due to the amount of chocolate chips I added. I figure if I can get them to like these for a bit, I can cut back on the chocolate on the next batch. I can't remember the last time I ate a granola bar, but I don't remember them being as tasty as these.
These were also fairly easy and quick to make - I whipped them up while my kids gave each other a checkup in the playroom. We have a closet of toys that we like to rotate and today we pulled out the old doctor kit. You'd have thought it was Christmas. I need to remember to rotate more frequently! Not a single tear has been shed, nor a slap or even a yell, from either of my girls. Of course, it could be due to their contented, chocolate granola-filled bellies, too.
Gluten-free & Vegan Granola Bars
4 1/2 cups gluten-free oats
1 cup Basic Gluten-free Flour Blend
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 cups chocolate chips
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup honey
2/3 cup Spectrum shortening (melted)
Mix-ins such as craisins, sunflower seeds, nuts if you do them, cinnamon, etc.
1. Preheat oven to 325. Line a 9x13 baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and xanthan gum.
3. Add oats, chocolate chips, and brown sugar. Mix well.
4. Add vanilla, melted shortening, honey, mix-ins. Pour into baking pan and pat/press down with a flat spatula. Bake 18-20 minutes.
5. Cool 5 minutes in pan, then invert onto a cookie sheet. Let cool about half an hour before slicing, then allow to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.