The kids have been in school for a little over a month. In the beginning the lunch box fare was exciting, new, fresh, and savoured The honeymoon is over. I mean, really, how many chicken-quinoa meatballs with homemade marinara sauce can one eat? Taco meat with chips is “been there, done that”, and enough with the maple coated (homemade) sweet and spicy almonds (recipe to come – regardless of what the kids say, they are still very much my addiction).  Although they still like my Snap Crackle Pop Snack Bites, they want variety. And not these, these, or these! They want a granola bar!

This past Saturday, everyone in my house was gone by 7:30 a.m. I was secretly, sans guilt, in heaven. I stole a few moments on Saturday morning to scroll through my DVR’d cooking shows. Happily lounging in my p.j.’s, green tea in one hand and remote in the other, I got down to business. I often forget how much inspiration comes from a little 22 minute cooking episode. One in particular was Ree’s episode Horsing Around and she made what looked like the perfect granola bar.

Converted these into a gluten free version and I have to say I was pretty impressed with myself. Packed in the lunch box, they were a hit. I am “snack mom” next week for Isaac’s football team. No pre-packaged, processed junk for my son’s friends. Instead, a big batch of these, fruit on skewers, and water for those growing boys. And who knows, maybe one parent will take note and follow my lead!

Homemade Baked Granola Bars
I really wish my kids liked coconut. If they did I would love a version of these with coconut, macadamia nuts, and dried pineapple. Hawaii in a bar! Add what ever you want – you be the judge.
original recipe here
yield: 30 bars

24 ounces | 678 grams | 6 cups gluten free rolled oats
2 ounces | 57 grams | 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 ounces | 57 grams | 1/4 cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
6 ounces | 169 grams | 1 cup maple sugar
6 ounces | 170 grams | 1/2 cup honey
2 ounces | 56 grams | 1/4 cup apple juice
2 ounces | 56 grams | 1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 ounces | 70 grams | 1 1/2 cup Brown Rice Puffed Cereal
4 ounces | 70 grams | 1 cup  rice bran
2 ounces | 56 grams | 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
2 ounces | 56 grams | 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
8 ounces | 226 grams | 2 cups bittersweet chocolate, chopped and tempered

• preheat oven to 350*. spray two rimmed jelly roll pans and set aside.
• in a large bowl, mix the oats, coconut oil, salt, and melted butter. divide mixture between the two prepared jelly roll pans.
• toast oat for 15 – 20 minutes, rotating pans half way through the baking. let cool.
• reduce oven temperature to 325*. line one rimmed jelly roll pan with heavy duty foil. lightly butter the foil.
• in a heavy duty sauce pan, combine the maple sugar, honey, apple juice, and molasses. on medium heat, stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves and is all combined. off heat, add the vanilla.
• in a very large bowl, mix the toasted oats, rice bran, sunflower seeds, and almonds. pour the warm sugar mixture over the dry ingredients and mix to combine.
• press the mixture into your foil lined jelly roll pan and bake until the top is just starting to turn a rich golden brown, about 20 – 25 minutes.
• place on a wire rack to cool completely. once cool, cut into desired size bars
• while cooling, temper your chocolate. I am fortunate to have this machine. If you don’t this is a very simple video on how to temper chocolate.
• once your chocolate is tempered, dip the bars into the chocolate or drizzle the chocolate over the bars set over a wire rack.
• once chocolate is set and hardened, they are ready to eat.
• these will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. provided they last that long.