Deliciously grain-free, low carb “granola” bars, chock full of dried cranberries and sugar-free chocolate chips. This is snack-time heaven! This post contains affiliate links.
My love has a brand new name and it is…low carb cranberry chocolate chip granola bars. To say that I am obsessed with these delicious treats doesn’t even begin to cover it. I think about them all the time; I simply can’t get them out of my mind. I think about all of their good qualities and I smile to myself. I whisper their name and feel a glow in my heart just hearing it out loud. I call them on the phone constantly, just to hear their voice. And then I hang up because I don’t want them to know it was me. I follow them around at school and sometimes I follow them home and hide in the bushes, watching them through the window. If I can get close enough to them, I breathe them in, trying to memorize their smell. I am getting a little concerned that they might issue a restraining order against me but I can’t help myself. I llllllllLlooooooooovvvvvveee them. And I know if they just gave me a chance, they’d love me back.
Okay, that might be taking it a bit far but these homemade grain-free granola bars are worthy of a little obsession. Even I was surprised at how good they are. Back in the day, when I thought real granola bars were good for me, they were one of my go-to snacks. My husband and I would pack them on camping trips and hikes and we always kept some in the car for sudden hunger. We favoured the Nature Valley brand and particularly liked the chewy ones. A smear of peanut butter on top and I was in snack-time heaven.
Creating a low carb version of this old favourite has long been a goal of mine, but it has presented any number of challenges. Making granola bars without granola is tricky, of course, but I’ve discovered that flaked coconut and sliced almonds can imitate oats quite well. To make them without sugar or honey is even harder, since that’s what holds most chewy granola bars together. I’ve made “granola bars” in the past that had egg white as a binder and while they were tasty, they ended up too soft and more cake-y than I wanted. This time, I attempted a “syrup” out of butter and sweetener. I also used a little Yacon syrup to give it a little more stickiness (Fiber syrup works well too). Then I pressed the mixture REALLY firmly into the pan before baking.
I can’t lie and tell you that these hold together perfectly. They are on the fragile side and they do crumble easily. But oh my word, they are good and they have both the right texture and the perfect flavour for chewy granola bars. It was difficult to stop eating them and my husband and kids felt the same way. They are worth it, crumbliness and all. I’ve made them three times now!
A few little tips for making these:
1. Chop the dried cranberries up a little more because cutting through them can cause the bars to fall apart a little more. Unsweetened dried cranberries are hard to find but you can make your own Homemade version or you can purchase some on Amazon. This time, I used the ones from Shoreline Fruit, it comes in a pound bag and it’s going to last me forever!
2. Cut them into squares rather than longer bars. I loved the look of the long bars pictured here but they were more fragile that way.
3. They will be very soft still coming out of the oven. Let them cool completely before lifting out of the pan. Then be sure to use a very sharp, non-serrated kitchen knife (or a bench knife if you have it). Cut straight down, don’t saw back and forth.
4. Eat them with a smear of peanut butter and you will be in snack-time heaven!
5. Keep any crumbles or bars that fall apart and turn them into the most delicious granola. Fabulous with a bit of heavy cream for breakfast!
- 1 cup flaked coconut
- 1 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup pecan halves
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries chopped
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips, sugar-free
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 tsp Yacon syrup or 1 tbsp Sukrin gold fiber syrup
- 1/2 cup powdered Swerve Sweetener
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 300F and line a 9x9 or 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper (with a little of the parchment overhanging the sides for easy removal).
In a food processor, combine the coconut, almonds, pecans, and sunflower seeds. Process on high until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs in texture.
Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cranberries, chocolate chips, and salt.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter with the Yacon or the fiber syrup. Once melted, whisk in the powdered sweetener until smooth. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Stir the butter mixture into the nut/coconut mixture until thoroughly combined. Press evenly into the bottom of prepared baking pan. Use a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup to really press it down and compact it as much as possible.
Bake 25 minutes, or until the edges are turning golden brown. Let cool completely in the pan and then lift them out by the parchment. Use a very sharp knife and cut them into bars (cutting straight down works much better than sawing away at them).
Serves 16. Each serving has 3.41g NET CARBS.
Food energy: 179kcal
Total fat: 16.32g
Calories from fat: 146
Total dietary fiber: 2.87g