My kids love grab and go snacks to take to school, sports, and other activities. The price of convenience foods like that can quickly add up, especially when you are taking dietary restrictions into account. Also, the ingredients aren’t always the best. That’s why I’m always on the lookout for healthier items we can make at home, such as our Busy Day Peanut Butter Balls or these Chocolate Chip Soft Baked Granola Bars.
This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn. These sweet, chewy, cake-like bars are great for breakfast, snacks, or even dessert! Katherine and I made them dairy free, and this is one of our favorite make-at-home bars. In addition to being good for those avoiding dairy and nuts, it’s also a tasty soft bar for children dealing with missing teeth or orthodontics.
We also make our own homemade soft baked granola, that’s fortified with dairy-free dry milk powder, to use in these bars and customize them even more. These soft baked granola bars fit well into snack-size zip top bags, or you can wrap them individually in wax paper or plastic wrap to take them wherever your back-to-school schedule sends you. They are a little fragile, though, so don’t put them in the bottom of your backpack!
This is a very good recipe for young bakers who can help to mix both the dry and wet ingredients both separately and together. They just might need help putting the bars in and out of the oven and cutting them into even portions. Older kids and teens can make the entire recipe by themselves. They can also have fun adding other mix-ins if they want!
Special Diet Notes: Soft Baked Granola Bars
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, nut-free, peanut-free, optionally soy-free, and vegetarian.
For gluten-free soft baked granola bars, substitute oat flour or your favorite gluten-free flour blend for the flour. Also use certified gluten-free oats, if needed. Let the bars cool completely before cutting.
For vegan and egg-free soft baked granola bars, you can substitute your favorite egg replacer, but the texture will be a bit different.
- 1½ cups dairy-free soft baked granola
- 1½ cups quick oats
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup firmly-packed brown sugar or coconut sugar
- ½ cup dairy-free buttery spread or buttery sticks
- ½ cup honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup mini dairy-free chocolate chips
- Preheat your oven to 350ºF and grease a 9x13-inch baking dish (you can use the same one you made the granola with!).
- Put the granola, oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine.
- Put the sugar, buttery spread, liquid sweetener, eggs, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until smooth and creamy.
- Stir the wet mixture into the flour mixture until well combined.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Evenly spread the batter into your prepared baking dish.
- Bake the bars for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. They will still be a bit soft; the bars will firm up as they cool.
- Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes before cutting them into 18 rectangular bars.
- If desired, wrap the bars individually.
- Store the bars in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. Individually wrap and freeze to enjoy later.