These very chewy and soft granola bars taste like snickerdoodle cookies and are every bit as satisfying, but are healthier.
I’m a big fan of snickerdoodle cookies. And granola bars.
And I’ll never say no to granola bars that taste like cookies.
I decided to combine two favorites into one as I was leaving Aruba, figuring they’d make nice snacks for the twenty two hour journey back to California. And boy, did these extra chewy, no-bake granola bars ever hit the spot. They really do taste like snickerdoodles in all their cinnamon-and-sugar scented glory and the best part is that they come together in five minutes and are easily kept both vegan and gluten-free.
To make them, combine butter, brown and granulated sugars, and corn syrup in a large microwave-safe bowl and heat for three minutes total, stopping after each one-minute interval to stir the ingredients. After the first minute, not much will likely have happened and the butter probably won’t even have melted yet, but after the second burst it will have softened and liquified. Give everything a good stir and return the bowl for the third minute. Keep an eye on it because you’re essentially making caramel sauce in the microwave and the bubbling that occurs helps create a sticky sauce, which is key to the granola bars holding their shape and sticking together. I don’t anticipate the mixture bubbling over and mine was no where close, and I use this technique in other granola bar recipes without issue, but microwaves vary.
To the hot caramel sauce, add vanilla, cinnamon, cream of tartar, optional salt, and quick-cooking oats. I usually use old-fashioned whole rolled oats in my recipes, but for these bars, quick-cook is the way to go. The oats are smaller and broken down, and they stick together much better than larger old-fashioned whole oats. Give everything a good stir and then slowly add three-quarters cup of flour, stirring to incorporate it. The mixture will be thick and it will be moist, but it shouldn’t be fall-apart sloppy and gloppy.
It sets up very dramatically after being pressed into the pan as it cools but if necessary, add up to four additional tablespoons of flour, or one-quarter cup, if your batter seems very wet. Don’t exceed four additional tablespoons because that could dry it out too much and cause the granola bars to be crumbly and not hold their shape well.
It’s likely that substituting some vanilla or plain protein powder could replace some or all of the flour. However, because protein powders vary greatly in how they work; some bind things beautifully, some turn food into sludge, and some turn it crumbly, you’d need to experiment. I’d start with acouple tablespoons and work your way up if you’re feeling adventurous. I was not and needed to pack.
Transfer the mixture to an 8-inch square pan and spread it out, firmly packing it down and smoothing it with a spatula. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least two hours so the bars can set up before slicing them or pop the pan into the freezer for a shorter duration.
Slice the bars into whatever shapes you prefer. Ten to twelve rectangular bars the size of a Quaker Chewy Granola bar is my yield and then I wrap them individually in plasticwrap, put them all together into a gallon-sized Ziplock, and store them in the refrigerator. They are shelf-stable for a week or so, but in the refrigerator they’ll last a month, or can be frozen many months. However, a dozen little granola bars won’t likely be lingering for too long.
Optionally drizzle the bars with melted white chocolate, either individually or just do the whole pan at once. I prefer white chocolate here and find it’s a better complement to the cinnamon-and-sugar flavors than dark chocolate, but it’s chocolate and there really is no wrong kind. I was tempted to dunk half the bar in melted chocolate or dip the bottom surface of the bar into chocolate like many storebought granola bars have that perfectly smooth and luscious chocolate bottom, but I wanted to keep them in the realm of healthy and was judicious about my chocolate usage. Sometimes you can teach an old dog new tricks.
The notes of caramel from the melted butter and brown sugar, combined with the cinnamon and a bit of tang from the cream of tartar, give such richness of flavor. The white chocolate drizzle is a nice touch and adds just a bit of additional sweetness because on their own, the bars aren’t overly sweet.
I love texture and the oats add an incredible amount. They’re fabulously dense and I have to chew-and-chew each bite, which is nice because it prevents me from being able to inhale three bars in three minutes. Interestingly, they don’t really taste like Oatmeal Cookies and are much more like Snickerdoodle Cookies or Sugar-Doodle Cookies, some of my all-time favorites.
They’re satisfying and hearty and make great pre- or post-workout snacks, and I feel satisfied without feeling like I just un-did all the benefits of my workout. I was also pleasantly shocked how well they held up going from ninety degree humidity to x-ray machines to the bottom of my carry-on to overhead bins.
I had to hide these from myself on the plane.
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- 1/2 cup butter (or vegan butter or margarine)
- 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional and to taste
- 3 1/2 cups quick cook oats - Quaker](http://www.quakeroats.com/products/hot-cereals/quick-oats.aspx), [Bob's, or similar
- 3/4 cup plus up to 4 tablespoon all-purpose flour (or Bob's or similar; protein powder may be used - see below)
- 1/2 cup white chocolate chips melted for drizzling, optional (or vegan white chocolate chips; or semi-sweet chocolate chips)
- Line an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with aluminum foil leaving overhang, spray with cooking spray; set aside. In a large microwave-safe bowl combine butter, corn syrup, (or brown rice syrup - I suspect maple syrup or agave are not quite sticky enough to properly bind the ingredients so bars will hold together), brown sugar, granulated sugar and heat on high power for 3 minutes total. After 1 minute, stop and stir; reheat for another minute, stop and stir; reheat for the final minute, stop and stir. In the final minute, keep an eye on the bowl just to make sure the liquid doesn't bubble over because you're essentially making caramel sauce in the microwave.
- Add vanilla, cinnamon, cream of tartar, salt, and stir to combine. Add oats and stir to combine. Add 3/4 cup flour slowly, stirring to incorporate it. Mixture should be thick and although it should be moist, it shouldn't be sloppy. Add up to 4 additional tablespoons flour if your mixture seems very wet; don't over-add and dry out batter too much because it shouldn't be crumbly. Regarding protein powder - substituting some vanilla or plain protein powder could likely replace some or all of the flour, but I have not tested it. Because protein powders vary greatly in how they work and bind ingredients, playing around with a couple tablespoons and working your way up is my recommendation.
- Transfer mixture to prepared pan and spread it into an even flat layer, pressing it down firmly with a spatula and smoothing the surface. Place pan in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or in the freezer for at least 1 hour, or until bars have set up. Lift bars out with foil overhang, place on a cutting board, and slice bars into desired size and shape. I prefer 10 to 12 rectangular bars, about 4-inches long by about 3/4-inch wide, similar in size and shape to a Quaker Chewy Granola Bar. Bars will keep at room temperature in an airtight container, wrapped individually in plasticwrap and placed in a gallon-sized Ziplock for up to 1 week (the butter was cooked for 3 minutes so they are shelf-stable); in the refrigerator for up to 1 month, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Take care that all ingredients used are in keeping with your dietary requirements if bars must be kept vegan, gluten-free, or soy-free.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 244Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 158mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 3gSugar: 13gProtein: 4g
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars (no-bake, vegan, GF) – Produces Quaker Chewy-style granola bars, with very similar texture, and they’re a reader favorite and one of my own favorites. Use ingredients you have on hand and enjoy, from peanut butter to almond butter to sunflower seed butter; to raisins to white chocolate chips to coconut flakes; to M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces for a more candy-like bar; you can customize them very easily with just about anything that strikes your fancy
Sunflower Seed Butter Bars (no-bake, vegan, GF, peanut-free) Made with one of my favorite nut butters, sunflower seed butter. It has a distinctively bold, yet slightly sweet flavor. By combining sunflower seed butter, agave, and Medjool dates with oats in a food processor, these no-bake granola bars come together in minutes. Fast, easy, very chewy and texture-filled
Cinnamon Oatmeal Date Bars with Chocolate Chunks (no-bake, vegan, GF) – If you omit the chocolate that’s used two ways on top of these bars, they’re quite healthy. Minus the chocolate, the bars themselves are just oats and dates, bound together by peanut butter, and I love them
Microwave Chocolate Peanut Butter and Oat Snack Bars (No-Bake, Vegan, GF) – Makes just 3 bars in 5 minutes, perfect small-batch and fast recipe
Sugar-Doodle Vanilla Cookies – These cookies are much more than the sum of their simple parts and ingredients and they’re easily one of my favorites from 2012. Another bonus of these soft, chewy, and easy cookies is that the batch size is only 11 cookies. Perfect for our family because we don’t need dozens and dozens of cookies just laying around
White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Cookies – Similar to the above recipe however before baking the dough was rolled in a cinnamon-sugar coating and white chocolate chips are in the batter. They’re not quite as chewy or thick and plump as the Sugar-Doodles but the flavor is perfect and they have white chocolate chips
Snickerdoodle Cookie Bars with Pink Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting – Snickerdoodle cookies, baked into bar form. Bars are faster to bake than individual cookies and no dough chilling is required. Dense, thick, easy and the sweet yet tangy cream cheese frosting is the perfect complement
Thanks for the Elegant Food Gift Box Giveaway entries
Do you have a favorite granola or granola bar recipe? Fan of snickerdoodles?
Feel free to link to your favorite recipes. Making granola and granola bars at home is so easy, cost-efficient, and you can control what does or doesn’t go into the bars.
And I’m a huge fan of snickerdoodles and when done right, very little can compete with a perfect snickerdoodle.
Happy New Year!