You know those crazy dietary promises you make to yourself as a kid? Like, “When I grow up, I’ll eat frosting straight from the can whenever I want!” And then you grow up and forget all about them. Well, I once made such a promise to myself about Quaker’s Chewy Granola Bars…and I didn’t forget.
The reason for the promise? My mom used to buy the bars, believing they were healthy (ha!). Then one day she ate one. “This is a candy bar!” she said after one bite. Duh—why did she think I loved them? From that moment on, the days of Chewy bars as a snack were over. I promised myself that when I grew up, I’d buy them whenever I felt like it.
And you know what? I held true to it. Or I did, until I started my gluten-free diet and Quaker’s Chewy Granola Bars were, once again, out. I tried making gluten-free versions, and while the base of oatmeal and crispy rice wasn’t difficult, the texture tripped me up. I wanted the bars to be, well, chewy. I tried honey. I tried a homemade sugar syrup. I even tried baking the bars. But the bars either fell apart, were too hard, or were just plain off.
I have finally nailed a copycat version of Chewy bars. The secret to that elusive chew? Marshmallows.
But marshmallows alone don’t achieve the right flavor. A quick scan of the ingredients on the Quaker box reveals that there’s brown sugar in the originals. So I balanced the marshmallow with some brown sugar, and now they’re perfect.
Plus, these bars are ridiculously easy to make. If you’ve ever made a batch of crispy bars, you already know everything you need to about making this recipe. You simply melt some butter (or coconut oil, if you don’t eat dairy) with brown sugar. Then melt in the marshmallows and stir in some gluten-free oats, crispy rice cereal, and—if you’re feeling crazy—nuts and chocolate chips. That’s it! You can make a batch of these in less than 15 minutes (not including the somewhat painful 2 hours of waiting for them to set in the refrigerator).
If you’re wondering if these bars are too sweet with the marshmallows and brown sugar, just remember what my mother said: They’re basically candy bars. And they’re wonderful.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 cups gluten-free quick-rolled oats (not old-fashioned oats)
- 2 cups gluten-free crisp rice cereal
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
- 1/4 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
- 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
- 3 cups (5 ounces) marshmallows
- Spray 9- by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside. In large bowl, toss together oats, crispy rice cereal, almonds, chocolate chips, and salt.
- In large saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar melts. Add marshmallows and continue to cook, stirring, until marshmallows melt. Turn off heat and stir in oat mixture until just combined.
- Press mixture evenly into prepared baking dish and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator. Using thin metal spatula, lift granola out in a single layer. Cut into 24 bars. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.