“CHOCOLATE CHIP” CHEWY GRANOLA BARS (gluten/dairy-free)

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These bars are chewy and delicious, but not too sweet. They can easily be made gluten-free and/or dairy-free to suit your needs.

INGREDIENTS:
4 cups Old Fashioned Oats (we use a gluten-free variety)
1/3 cup coconut oil (or butter)
1 cup raw honey
4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups almonds, chopped (we throw them in food processor)
1/2 cup cocoa nibs (optional), available at health food stores

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place oats on an ungreased 11″ x 17″ baking sheet and toast in oven for 10 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt honey and oil or butter together in a medium saucepan over medium heat, being careful not to burn it. Remove pan from heat; and add vanilla, salt and cinnamon. Stir until dissolved.

Add toasted oats to the saucepan mixture and toss to coat. Add chopped almonds and stir. Add cocoa nibs (optional) and stir to combine.

Line a smaller baking sheet (10″ x 15″ works best) with parchment paper. (Tip: Sprinkle the sheet with a few drops of water, first, to help keep the paper in place.)

Transfer batter to this cookie sheet and gently spread to all edges. Once entire sheet is covered, press batter firmly into pan – I use a Ziplock sandwich bag on my hand for this step, but a sheet of parchment or wax paper should work well, too.

Bake 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees. The bars are done when they just begin to turn brown at the edges. Don’t wait too long or they may burn! Bars will be moist and crumbly when removed from oven, but they come together as they cool! It may take a few attempts for you to figure out the best amount of time in your own oven.

Let cool completely (about 90 minutes on a cooling rack; longer if you don’t have a cooling rack). Cut into 24 bars and remove from pan. Enjoy!

We like our bars a little firmer and sweeter, so we store them in the fridge. They also freeze well for later use…and can be eaten frozen, as well!

(For more great recipes and all of the grocery shopping tips you need to ensure that you select the most additive-free versions of every ingredient you need to make over 150 natural recipes, check out my e-book “Eating Additive-Free“!)