This easy, healthy recipe for chewy peanut butter and jelly granola bars is gluten free + vegan! Great for kids, quick breakfasts, and snacking on the go!
Five years back, which feels like both yesterday and a lifetime ago, I sold homemade granola bars at a local farmer's market. I was never looking to get rich in the granola bar business; it was more of a marketing tactic to attract business to my personal chef business. And it worked! I picked up several new clients that summer which helped make up for my lack of profit as a granola bar baker.
After that, granola bars kind of became my thing. I had people requesting whole batches of them on the reg. But behind closed doors, I couldn't even stand to look at them anymore. I made thousands of granola bars that summer, and after only a few short weeks I had grown ungodly sick of them. And it was a shame! Because they were really good granola bars. I made all kinds of awesome flavors ranging from the super kid-friendly chocolate-pretzel-sunflower seed and fluffernutter, to bars reserved for a more adult palate, like orange-cardamom-pistachio-fig and spicy Thai peanut.
I loved setting up at the farmer's market each week and chatting with all my customers and fellow vendors. It was the baking that I really began to loathe over time, and it reminded me why I despise mass food production of any kind. I would start baking at 6am and wouldn't finish cutting, wrapping and labeling until about 10pm. Then I'd pack up my car and get ready to set up at the market the next morning. My dear friends, who all chipped in to help each week, affectionately nicknamed my kitchen the "granola bar sweatshop," and they were not exaggerating. Admittedly, I could get a bit militant at times, but in my defense, I was burnt out and exhausted. The sweatshop routine got real old real fast, especially after calculating my profit margins.
This is all to say that after 5 years of being out of the granola bar game, I'm finally ready to dip my feet back into the water. I've been wanting to share a recipe here on Coley Cooks, but up until recently, I still couldn't muster up the motivation to make granola bars. Now that I finally did, I'm so, so glad. These things are awesome!
Homemade granola bars are great to keep on hand for easy grab and go breakfasts and snacks... even dessert. You get to control everything that goes into them, and especially what doesn't go into them. These may contain a healthy dose of sugar, which obviously means they're going to taste good, but it also means they'll give you a mega boost of energy and that's exactly what they're intended to do. It's also worth mentioning that these are gluten free and basically vegan - honey is technically an animal product - but true vegans can always sub that out for maple syrup or agave nectar.
This flavor was always a best seller and one of my personal favorites. They taste just like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, just like these bars, and what blue-jean wearing, red-blooded American doesn't love that?
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