Sunday, May 6, 2012

Chocolate Cranberry Granola Bars Recipe | Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free

We made it through my first week of work, unfortunately I did very little working, and not in the lazy way.  The baby woke up Sunday morning covered in vomit and as the week progressed the barfing seemed to increase.  My Mom is amazing, she only works on call and is usually able to watch the kids when I'm in need, unfortunately, she is currently suffering from sciatica and a day of holding, carrying and rocking my twenty plus pound little boy is near impossible for her.

In the end I worked two short days and stayed home with my barfy little man for two days.  As I told the hubs, it was a very long week, but not at all in the ways that I had expected it to be.  I spent hours cuddling, snuggling, rocking and soothing my little man this week; aside from a ridiculous amount of laundry the only other thing I accomplished this week was a batch of homemade chocolate cranberry granola bars.

These bars are easy to make (I made them with a crying baby on my hip) and I love that they use nutritious pumpkin as a secret ingredient to create moist, chewy and delicious granola bars.    This recipe comes from The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet and Greta Podleski (which I love and will be reviewing this month), though I have made a few minor adaptations to make it meet the dietary restrictions and tastes of my household.

You can change up the add-ins as you please, but Janet and Greta recommend that you keep the quantities the same and chop your ingredients small to keep your bars from becoming crumbly.  I  have used both gluten-free oat flour (ground up gluten-free oats) and my all-purpose flour mix and didn't find much difference in the end product; use whatever you have on hand, I'm sure it will work well.  For those of you who can tolerate gluten, the original recipe keeps these bars extra nutritious with whole-wheat flour.
Granola bars

  • 2-1/2 cups gluten-free quick cooking oats
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips, chopped (or mini)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free oat flour or all-purpose mix
  • 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1-1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (or canola)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a 9x13 pan with a large piece of parchment paper.  Allow the parchment to overhang on two sides to you can use it like a sling to pick up the cooked granola bars.
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.
  3. Whisk together the wet ingredients and then mix into the dry ingredients.  Stir well.
  4. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands to ensure it is tightly packed into the pan.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes until the top is light golden brown and dry to the touch.
  6. Cool completely, in the pan, on a wire rack.  
  7. Use the parchment paper to carefully remove the slab of granola.  Use a sharp knife and firm pressure (not a sawing motion) cut the granola slab into 16 equal bars approximately 1.5 x 4 inches. 
  8. Wrap bars individually in saran wrap.  Bars can be stored on the counter or in the fridge.
  9. Enjoy!