- 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!Print
A healthier no bake chewy granola bar recipe using coconut oil instead of butter and agave nectar instead of honey! A kid friendly recipe for school lunches and after school snacks
- 2 cups quick cooking oats (or pulse whole oats in a food processor a bit)
- 1 C rice crispy cereal
- 1/4 C shredded coconut
- 3Tb + 1 tsp coconut oil
- 1/4 C agave nectar
- 1/2 C brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the oats, cereal and coconut. Set a small saucepan over medium high heat and melt the coconut oil. Add the agave, brown sugar and salt. Stir together then leave it alone as it comes to a boil. Once the boil has reached all the way around the edges of the pan, begin timing. Allow this mixture to boil for 1 minute and 30 seconds. During this time, you may need to turn the heat down a bit so it doesn’t overflow, but be sure it keeps boiling gently. Watch your time closely or you will end up with hard bars instead of chewy!
2. Add the vanilla then pour the mixture over the oats, using a rubber spatula to get all the sugar mixture out of the pan. Mix the ingredients together until the oats are completely coated. Add in your desired mix-in then press very firmly into a lightly greased 9×13″ pan. If you like your bars thicker, you can use a smaller pan or double the recipe and use the same 9×13 pan. If you do not press firmly enough, the bars will fall apart when you eat them. Place them in the fridge for 20 minutes then cut to size.
Mix In Variations
Add 1/2 C of mini chocolate chips to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan, allowing it cool just a bit or you will end up with melted chips. Sprinkle on a few extra chips over the top after they are pressed into the pan.
White Chocolate Cranberry
Add 1/3 C of white chocolate chips and 1/3 C of Craisins to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan, allowing it to cool just a bit first or you will end up with melted chips.
Add 1/3 C of Heath bar pieces, 1/3 C of mini M&M’s and 1/3 C of chopped pretzels to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.
Add 2 Tb of peanut butter to the finished sugar mixture before pouring it over the oats. Once mixed with the oats, add 1/2 C peanut butter chips before pressing into the pan.
Add 1/3 C of chopped raisins and 1/3 C of chopped pecans to the finished mixture before pressing into the pan.
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.