Granola bars are a staple in school lunches, but an item I can’t find many varieties of that are lactose free. I’ve found a few brands – like Nature Valley Chewy and Crunchy bars and Safeway brand Nutrigrain-like granola bars – but none like the tasty chewy Quaker granola bars I love so much. The problem with most brands is that they use condensed milk to bind their granola bars. Condensed milk = bad news for my lactose intolerance.
I’ve spent many, many hours combing the internet for the perfect recipe. I wanted a chewy granola bar, filled with oats and chocolate chips, but void of dairy. Not easy to find. Many, many recipes use that condensed milk combo. I finally found one at Joyful Abode called Homemade Granola Bars. The syrup that holds these bars together is dairy free – and high-fructose corn syrup free. They’re not really healthy, and actually a sugar bomb. They’re tasty though, and I don’t do very well on a diet that doesn’t have some fun things in it. Next time I might try weighing portions to help me reach a calorie count that pleases me a bit more than what I did this time. If I made 36 bars instead of 18 bars, they would be about 100 calories per portion. Right now they’re sitting at about 200. Just remember though, they taste good.
I like to dress these bars up with a variety of add-ins – I’ve done just chocolate chip, and peanut butter chocolate chip. Sometimes I put in rice crispies or coconut. I’ve added no chocolate but dried cranberries and pistachios. Today I added chocolate chips, hazelnuts and marshmallows. I think next time I won’t add sunflower seeds but rice crispies instead as a permanent change.
Dairy-Free Chewy Rocky Road Granola Bars
Yield: 18 bars
Prep Time: 15 minutes | Bake Time: 10 to 12 minutes | Cool Time: 2 hours
2 cups oats
3/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup hazelnuts, crushed
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 tbsp vegan margarine (such as Becel vegan)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
4 oz dairy free chocolate chips (I’ve found these at Superstore and Walmart – just look for packages that don’t include any dairy)
4 oz marshmallows (cut into small pieces)
1.Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
2. While oven is warming up, crush the hazelnuts. There are a few ways to do this, the easiest probably being using a food processor. I didn’t feel like pulling mine out, so I put the nuts in a bag a smashed them with a pot. It was fun.
3. Mix the oats, wheat germ, sunflower seeds and hazelnuts into a baking pan. Place in oven and bake for 10 – 12 minutes, enough to toast the mixture but not burn. I took it out and stirred every 4 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, mix the brown sugar, honey, vegan margarine, vanilla and salt in a pot on the stove. Heat over medium until sugar has dissolved and mixture is simmering. Remove from heat.
5. Combine in a bowl the toasted oat mixture and the sugar mixture. Stir until all dry ingredients are coated with the syrup.
6. Allow to cool – enough that your chocolate chips and marshmallows won’t melt into the granola bars. I tried waiting 5 minutes – that wasn’t enough. I dont’ know what the perfect amount would be.
7. Pour granola mixture into a greased/parchment lined pan. Press granola flat.
8. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours or until the granola bars have become firm.
9. Turn out cooled granola bars on a cutting board and cut into desired pieces. I cut mine into long, skinny pieces to look like a store-bought bar.
10. Store granola bars in an airtight container, plastic wrap or plastic baggies. Enjoy!
- Very low in cholesterol
- Low in sodium
- Very high in manganese
- Very high in sugar
(Nutritional information from Calorie Count)