The Messy Baker Blog

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars {Gluten-Free Option}

Chewy peanut butter granola bars stuffed with healthy ingredients and naturally sweetened.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars {Gluten-Free Option} | www.themessybakerblog.com

I’ve been eating a lot of butter lately. I’m not talking sticks of butter straight out of the wrapper; although, I did eat butter straight from the butter bowl as a child.

My recent butter obsession has been in the form of chocolate brownie cookies, butterscotch chocolate caramel cookie cups, and loaded baked potatoes oozing with melted butter. While it has been a delicious few weeks, my thighs are beginning to rub together, which means it’s time to stop my butter-eating shenanigans and move on to healthier choices.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars {Gluten-Free Option} | www.themessybakerblog.com

I decided to ease my way back into healthy snacking by mixing a bunch oats, seeds, and almonds with creamy peanut butter and crisp rice cereal to create chewy chocolate chip peanut butter granola bars.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars {Gluten-Free Option} | www.themessybakerblog.com

I even added some chopped up prunes.

Whoa… What?

Yes, I said the word prune. Wait, don’t go running for the hills just yet!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars {Gluten-Free Option} | www.themessybakerblog.com

Most people associate prunes with prune juice and bowel movements. I won’t touch prune juice, but I happen to like prunes. Since I ran out of my usual go-to healthy sweetener, dates, I resorted to plump, juicy prunes.

When I mention the word prune to friends and family, what I get in return is a scrunched up face with puckered lips accompanied by an are-you-for-real look on their face. So, I stopped mentioning the word altogether. Instead, I started hiding prunes in various recipes. They were none the wiser.

Yes, I realize the method is a bit sneaky, but 

Prunes are just dried plums. So, if you like plums, you’ll probably like prunes. I chopped up several prunes to create a sticky base for the granola. The prunes serve three purposes: 1.) They help bind the mixture. 2.) They add natural sugars to the granola. 3.) They produce a chewy texture.

If you fear the prune, feel free to substitute dates.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars {Gluten-Free Option} | www.themessybakerblog.com

These healthy bars are chewy with a pop of crunch (thank you, crisp rice cereal). Oh, and peanut buttery… Oh so peanut buttery! The mini chocolate chips add subtle bursts of sweetness. I hid some flaxseed meal and chia seeds in the bar for a boost of healthy omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. One bar will fill you up and give you the energy needed to power through the day.

For a gluten-free granola bar, replace the old-fashioned oats with certified gluten-free old-fashioned oats, crisp rice cereal, and chocolate chips.

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Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Naturally sweetened, protein packed, full of fiber chewy peanut butter granola bars.

Yield: 1 (8-by-8-inch) pan

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats

1/2 cup slivered almonds

1 cup crisp rice cereal

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

1 tablespoon chia seeds

7 prunes, finely chopped

3/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Evenly spread oats and almonds onto the prepared baking sheet. Toast until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Allow the oats to cool completely.

In a large bowl, add the oat and almond mixture, crisp rice cereal, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, and chopped prunes. Give the mixture a good stir to combine.

In a small bowl, add peanut butter and honey. Microwave for 45 seconds. Stir until the mixture is creamy and the honey and peanut butter are thoroughly combined. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Fold the peanut butter mixture into the oat mixture until all of the ingredients are thoroughly coated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Line a 8-by-8-inch square pan with a piece of parchment so it overlaps on each side of the pan. Transfer the oat mixture to your prepared pan, pressing the mixture into the corners. Fold the overlapped parchment in so it covers the top of the granola. Firmly press down on the granola.

Refrigerate for at least an hour. Using a serrated knife, cut the granola into squares. Store in an airtight container.

For a gluten-free option: Replace old-fashioned oats with certified gluten-free old-fashioned oats, use a gluten-free crisp rice cereal, and certified gluten-free chocolate chips.

   

27 Responses to “Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Granola Bars {Gluten-Free Option}”

  1. #
    1
    shannon — May 1, 2014 at 10:19 am

    so when i saw this, i thought to myself “okay: so i super hope that this involves GF oats b/c i have a whole giant bag of them from a project and also, i hope i have all the other things in my pantry already so i can make them.”
    SUCCESS! b/c it DOES involve GF oats (or it can, yay) and i DO have everything i need already in the pantry. I’m skipping the prunes though; i actually love them, but these will be for the Wee One, sooooo…yeah. skipping the prunes, ifyaknowwhatimean.

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 1st, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Yeah, no prunes for the wee one is probably a good decision. I totally feel what you’re putting down :) It’s like this recipe was meant to be. The fates aligned, and now you get to enjoy granola bars. Let me know how you and the wee one like them. Happy granola making!

      Reply

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    Julia — May 1, 2014 at 10:25 am

    When I was a kid, I would take bites out of sticks of butter. I have fond memories of my mom placing butter on the counter for it to soften so that she could bake cookies. I’d grab that butter and chomp. Needless to say, our cookies were always missing a little butter, but I was always one happy butter-filled camper ;) THESE GRANOLA BARS ARE AWESOME! I NEED to make homemade granola bars!!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 1st, 2014 at 10:28 am

      I’m happy to hear that I wasn’t the only butter-loving child. I would also eat raw potatoes. I was a weird child. Yes, make granola bars. They’re great for long bike rides and hiking. I always keep one in my camel bak. Thanks, Julia!

      Reply

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    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — May 1, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Girl, you are my peanut butter and chocolate recipe guru! And, now healthy snack guru. I’m with you…I adore plums and prunes, but just wish the word “prune” was not given to these healthy and delicious dried plums. (Prunes just sounds so old lady-ish to me, LOL.) Dried plums just sounds more appealing to gourmands. :) Thanks or sharing. Cannot wait to try! Pinning (of course)!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 1st, 2014 at 6:58 pm

      I always try to call them dried plums. The word prune scares people. We should petition to rename the prune :) Thanks, Stacy!

      Reply

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    Jessica @ A Kitchen Addiction — May 1, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    I’ve never thought of using prunes in place of dates! Such a great idea for a natural sweetener!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 1st, 2014 at 6:57 pm

      I really love the flavor the prunes add. They’re sweeter. Thanks, Jess!

      Reply

  5. #
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    dot — May 1, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Can’t wait to try these. Love granola and the fact there is no sugar. Do you happen to have the nutritional info?

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 1st, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      Hi Dot! Thank you so much. I don’t have the nutrition info. I’m sorry.

      Reply

      • dot replied May 8th, 2014 at 12:25 am

        I made these today and also left out the prunes. I used natural peanut butter then calculated the nutritional info for 24 servings. Came out to 114cal per serving and taste awesome. Took them into work and everyone loved them. One person said they were better than any granola she’d ever eaten. Thanks for the great recipe.. I may tweek it a bit more to decrease the sugar which was 4.7 grams/serving and decrease the calories too.

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    Nancy @ gottagetbaked — May 1, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Jennie, you are the granola queen! These bars look freaking fantastic. I love that it’s totally adaptable. I have a lot of these ingredients in my pantry so I think I’ll do my health a favour by whipping up a batch asap. And girl, I’ve got your back when it comes to the prunes. I love ‘em and their magical powers in the bowel (yup, I said it),

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 2nd, 2014 at 7:33 am

      Thanks, Nancy! They sure do have some magical bowel powers. Let me know how you like them.

      Reply

  7. #
    7
    Lindsey @ American Heritage Cooking — May 1, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    These sound like the perfect healthy snack! I’m not too proud to say that I do, indeed, fear the prune. But if you say they cannot be tasted, then I trust you! I keep saying that I’m going to start making my own snack bars but I still haven’t! I need to just dive right in there!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 2nd, 2014 at 7:28 am

      You won’t even know the prune exists in these bars. They just taste sweet. If you’re not fond of prunes, you can always use dates. Yes, dive in. Once you make your own snack bars, you’ll never buy them from the store again. Thanks!

      Reply

  8. #
    8
    Kim@Treats & Trinkets — May 2, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Anybody who says no to these delicious granola bars because of prunes is crazy and I will take their share! I am a granola bar addict. I should really start making my own.

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 2nd, 2014 at 7:32 am

      That’s a deal, Kim. I’ll be sure to pass the unwanted bars your way. Yes, you should make your own bars. These are really easy. Thanks!

      Reply

  9. #
    9
    Laura Dembowski — May 2, 2014 at 8:44 am

    I know it’s crazy but I’m actually not a big fan of butter. On the other hand, I absolutely love granola bars and prunes. Weird, right?

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 2nd, 2014 at 9:32 am

      I think your the first person to say they’re not a fan of butter. Hey, to each their own. I only have about 8 pounds in my freezer as we speak (type?). It looks like these bars are made for you. Thanks, Laura!

      Reply

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    Tina @ Tina's Chic Corner — May 2, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I love making homemade granola bars and these look delicious! I’m thinking a granola bar is way better than a stick of butter. ;)

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 3rd, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Thank you so much, Tina! I’d have to agree :)

      Reply

  11. #
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    Choc Chip Uru — May 2, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    I am crazy about this delicious granola bars, perfect for uni :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 3rd, 2014 at 3:35 pm

      Thanks, Uru!

      Reply

  12. #
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    Mary Frances @ The Sweet {Tooth} Life — May 2, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    Smart! I always run out of dates, too. And I love peanut butter and chocolate chips! My thighs … yeah, maybe I love pb and chocolate too much. Thanks for this healthier option Jennie! I’m not running for the hills (unless you live in the hills ;) ) Happy Friday!

    Reply

    • Jennie replied May 3rd, 2014 at 3:36 pm

      I just bought a jumbo bag at Costco, so I should be good for a bit :) Thanks, Mary Frances!

      Reply

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    Terra — May 6, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    I used to eat butter from the butter dish TOO, LOL! Love that there is a gluten free option, and love your recipe! This would be perfect when I am traveling, perfect snack! Yum, Hugs, Terra

    Reply

  14. #
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    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — May 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    Granola queen strikes again! As usual-tastiness. Genius-ness.

    Reply

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