Granola bars- kids love them, allergy parents hate shopping for them!  Why?  It’s SO HARD to find granola bars that are free from allergens such as tree nut, peanut, wheat and dairy.  For me, finding ones that are seed free on top of all of those others is basically impossible.  Casey’s first anaphylaxis was to a bar that had sunflower and flax seeds in them.  We did not know that he was allergic to seeds and spent a very frightening stay in the ICU for 24 hours.  Just recently a brand that he loved became unsafe because they added sunflower butter to their line of goods and share manufacturing lines.  For us, that’s a hard no.  And with that, granola bar testing mania began.

I absolutely love these bars because they are really a free for all and take maybe 10 minutes start to finish.  I make at least one batch a week.  You can make any variation with whatever safe ingredients you like.  Casey and my middle son, Gabriel, fight over their favorite, chocolate chip and marshmallow.  Craisin cinnamon are popular around here too.  Gabriel likes them in his lunch box for snack at school. 

Check out my step by step YouTube video 

Another bonus…they freeze great!  A batch makes about 10-15, depending on how they are cut so I leave some in the refrigerator and put the others in the freezer.  Any crumbs after cutting get put aside- Case and I like it in our yogurt.  I hope you love them as much as we do.  Enjoy! 💙👩🏻‍🍳

**As always, please check which brands are safe for your needs**

 Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Oats – I use Gluten Free Harvest (not the organic, they have potential cross contamination with sunflower) for all my oats and oat flour. Oats can be a major source of cross contamination with wheat as it is often used to cut the oats.  If wheat is an allergen or intolerance for you, please be aware of this.  You don’t want to use quick cut oats for this recipe, they absorb too much moisture and make the bars soft.  If that’s all you have at home, toast the quick oats for about 10 minutes in a 350-degree oven, tossing often. 
  • Vegan butter – I tried this recipe with coconut oil and canola and thought they were too greasy. The vegan butter worked just right, and if regular butter is safe for you then go ahead and use it! 
  • Add-ins – Really, anything you like can go in these bars! Here are some things to remember, though.  First, make sure that nothing is too large that it will make the bar break when cutting.  If you have safe mini chips as opposed to regular size, I would do that or rough chop raisins or any dried fruit first.  Second, don’t exceed the 1/4 cup amount.  The bars will not set properly.  Third, if there is safe seed or nut butter you like, go ahead and add a tablespoon or two, but if it is very runny it may inhibit the set up.
  • Light brown sugar/maple syrup – If any substitutions can be made here it’s coconut sugar for the brown sugar and honey for the maple syrup. The honey will make it very sweet though.  White granulated sugar will not work as well in this recipe.

Allergy Friendly Anything Goes Granola Bars

Dairy Free, Egg Free, Gluten Free, Nut Free, Seed Free, Top 8 Allergy Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Author: Katie Martino Lopez

Prep Time: 5 minutes

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Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: With minimum 60 minutes chilling, about 1 1/2 -2 hours 

Yield: 12-16 granola bars, depending on the size cut

Ingredients

  • 2- 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (if using quick oats see above)
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ c. vegan or regular butter
  • 1/3 c. pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup)
  • ¼ c. light brown sugar or coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 c. add ins (chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, raisins, seeds, etc.)
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon, optional

Method

  1. Lightly grease the bottom of an 8×8 square pan with safe butter.
  2. In a medium bowl, blend together oats,  (optional cinnamon) and salt. Set aside.
  3. Measure out add ins and set aside.
  4. In a small heavy bottom pot, combine vegan butter, maple syrup and light brown sugar and heat over a low flame until just melted.
  5. When melted, bring to a full boil for NO MORE than three minutes over medium-high heat. Any longer than that and the sugar will burn.  If it is much less, it will not set up the bars.
  6. When time is up, immediately remove the sugar mixture off the heat and pour over the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, quickly mix together to combine.  It will start to set up fast so stir quickly! Mix in vanilla and desired add ins.
  7. Dump in the prepared pan and press in evenly. I use a piece of foil or parchment paper to flatten out and press.  If it is pressed tight it will not be crumbly upon setting.
  8. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or more to set.
  9. When ready to cut, turn the pan out onto a cutting board. If it has been chilling a long time, let the granola sit for a few minutes.  If it is very cold it will break while cutting.
  10. Gently cut using a sawing motion (a serrated knife works well)-bars can break.
  11. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week or wrap tightly and freeze.

Recipe Notes

  • Bars stay fresh for 5-7 days before becoming soft in the refrigerator. Keep in an airtight container.
  • If freezing, cut beforehand. That way, you can grab as you need without having to thaw the whole piece.
  • Be cautious of your add ins. It’s tempting to add more but it will affect how the bars set up.
  • This recipe is very easily doubled-just use a 13″x 9″ pan.

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Disclaimer

As we all know, reading labels and preparing food when managing allergies is a job within itself with much responsibility. All the brands I use are ones that I have contacted, and Casey has eaten safely. That being said, I must remind…

Please do your own research when deciding which products and foods are safe for the allergies you manage. These are the ones that are safe for our needs but may not be for you. Everyone has different comfort levels with manufacturing and production procedures.

And, as a friendly reminder, always have 2 epinephrine auto injectors on hand!

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