Toasting the oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed adds a rich, nutty taste to these granola bars. A much healthier and gluten-free alternative to store-bought bars, these homemade treats are a wonderful addition to any lunch box. You can store them in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Wrap individually in parchment paper and tie with twine for a nice touch.
2 cups certified gluten-free quick-cooking oats
1 cup flaked sweetened coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seed kernels
1/2 cup flaxseed
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries or dried cherries, chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/2 cup whole pitted dates (about 10 dates), chopped
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Line a 13 x 9-inch metal baking pan with foil, allowing foil to extend over the edges of the pan; coat foil with cooking spray.
Place oats, coconut, sunflower seed kernels, and flaxseed on a baking sheet, spreading evenly in a single layer. Bake at 350° for 10 to 12 minutes or until toasted, stirring every 5 minutes. Remove oat mixture from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 300°. Combine oat mixture, cranberries, apricots, and dates in a large bowl.
Place honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan, stirring to combine. Bring honey mixture to a boil over medium heat. Boil 1 minute, stirring constantly with a whisk. Immediately pour honey mixture over oat and fruit mixture; toss gently with a rubber spatula to coat.
Firmly press oat mixture into prepared pan, using a rubber spatula or hands coated with cooking spray to create an even layer. Bake at 300° for 30 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Lift bars from pan, using foil sides as handles. Place on a cutting board; cut into 18 bars. Remove bars from foil.
Gluten-Free Baking; The Food Lover's Gluten-Free Cookbook
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