No Bake, Almost Everything-Free Granola Bars

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It’s only the third week of school and I’m not going to lie: packing school lunches are weighing me down.  Each day I struggle with not just what to pack each day but how to streamline the process so I can get the kids out the door on time.  After I make five meals inside 40 minutes (not to mention rounding up shoes and homework and instruments and sports equipment…), there isn’t time to think about baking safe snacks.  I’m exhausted just writing about it…

Food allergic families cannot often rely on convenient, pre-packaged foods like breakfast bars and snack bags due to unsafe ingredients or cross-contamination.  Here’s an easy no bake recipe for peanut-free, tree nut-free, egg-free, dairy-free and optionally gluten-free granola bars that you can make ahead of time and freeze for your child’s lunch box or a quick after school snack.  These granola bars are the perfect combination of salty and sweet; I dare you not to eat one once the kids jump on the bus!

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No-Bake, Almost Everything-Free Chocolate Chunk Pretzel Granola Bars (Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, Vegan and optionally Gluten-Free)

Granola bars are traditionally hard to find without dairy or cross-contamination with nuts. And, gluten-free varieties are costly. These no-bake granola bars are as easy to make as they are to consume! Once made, you can wrap and freeze the bars so that they’re ready to pop into a lunchbox in the morning or into a hungry mouth in the afternoon.

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup dairy-free butter
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp Sunbutter or other safe peanut butter substitute
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups regular or gluten free quick oats
  • 1 cup Rice Krispie cereal or Erewhon Crispy Brown Rice cereal (a gluten-free alternative)
  • 1 cup pretzel or gluten free pretzel pieces
  • 1 cup dairy free chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks)

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Place parchment paper in 9×13” baking pan.

In large bowl, combine oats, cereal, pretzel pieces and chocolate chips. Set aside.

Over low heat, melt honey and butter together. Remove from heat and whisk in brown sugar, Sunbutter and vanilla extract. Pour over dry mixture. Fold repeatedly to thoroughly coat dry mixture.

Pour contents of bowl into baking pan. Press down firmly and evenly to distribute the mixture. Place in refrigerator for 1 hour before cutting into squares or rectangles (like supermarket bought granola bars).

Wrap unused bars in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for best quality.

Enjoy!

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