- Can I use coconut oil instead of butter?
- Can I use agave nectar instead of honey?
I decided to take each substitution one at a time so I could properly evaluate how each substitution either failed or succeeded. First, I used the agave nectar in place of the honey and was shocked to discover that I actually preferred them made with the agave over the honey. The honey gave the bars a strong honey flavor (duh) but the agave was much more neutral and didn’t interfere with the mix-ins. Success!
Next, the scarier substitution: the coconut oil for the butter. I’ve never made a caramel sauce with anything besides butter and knew it would take some trial and error. I had three batches that turned out not so great (greasy and rock hard), but finally found the method that left no difference in texture and chewiness. Success!
To make these healthier, revised No Bake Chewy Granola Bars, follow these changes to the original recipe found here.
- Substitute agave nectar for the honey. No changes in the amount.
- Substitute coconut oil for the butter, but reduce the amount to 3 Tb + 1 tsp of coconut oil. If you use the full 1/4 C of coconut oil, your end result will be greasy.
- Watch your boiling time carefully and reduce it to exactly 1 minute and 30 seconds. You are timing from the moment bubbles cover the whole surface of the syrup in your pan. If you go longer, your bars will turn out hard.