Oats, dates, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, orange and cinnamon. I just love granola bars, there are so many options.
Homemade granola bars are a great way to pack a little extra nutrition (with less sugar) into the kids lunch boxes. Yes - these have chocolate chips, but there are hemp seeds too. And the hemp seeds mean that the chocolate doesn't count. Or maybe it's the other way around...
This is a good basic egg-free granola bar recipe. I like that it doesn't need a separate pot to make the sticky-stuff. Bringing sugar and butter to a boil on the stove top is one of those things that I just don't always have time for. Here, a little cold butter and a little brown sugar and you are good to go. (You could easily sub in Earth Balance for the butter if you wanted a vegan bar.)
The dates and the chocolate chips make these granola bars sweet, but not too sweet. The kids will not mistake these for a candy bar, which is a good thing. These bars will fill them up, satisfy their sweet tooth and get them sustained energy for the rest of the day.
You could easily replace the dates, sunflower seeds or chocolate chips with what ever combination of dried fruit and nuts you like best: cranberries, apricots, raisins, flaked coconut, etc. Go ahead, go crazy. Because these are going into the lunch box I'm keeping these nut-free and using sunflower and hemp seeds for their protein and healthy fats.
Nut-Free Granola Bars for the Lunch Box #vegan
- 2 egg replacers 2 teaspoons powder with 4 tablespoons cold water
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seed divided
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons cold butter or Earth Balance spread
- ¾ cups all-purpose whole wheat flour
- 1-½ cups large flake rolled oats
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons orange rind
- ⅓ cup chopped pitted dates
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- ½ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup hemp seeds
- ¼ cup orange juice fresh squeezed, about half an orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 and line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a small bowl combine egg replacer (2 teaspoons powder with 4 tablespoons water) with 1 tablespoon ground flax seed. Mix well and set aside for 5-10 minutes while you get the rest of your ingredients together.
- In a large bowl add brown sugar and butter. Using a pastry blender, cut butter (or Earth Balance) into the sugar until you have coarse crumbs. Add flour, oats, salt and cinnamon and mix gently.Add dates, orange rind, chocolate chips sunflower and hemp seeds and stir to combine.
- To the dry ingredients, add egg replacer, remaining tablespoon of ground flax seed, orange juice and vanilla and mix well to fully incorporate.
- Press mixture into an 8X8 square baking dish. Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes. Edges will be slightly browned.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before removing from pan and cutting into 12 squares.