Soft & Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars

These homemade Soft & Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars are a granola bar-meet-candy bar situation, and completely loaded with good-for-you stuff! Easily mixed and baked they are perfectly sweet and salty, naturally gluten free and 100% customizable (see below). These will quickly become your new favorite snack!
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A close up photo of chocolate bars on a white background

Behold a homemade Soft & Chewy Chocolate Granola Bar that tastes just like a candy bar! Dipping them in bittersweet chocolate makes them a bit more decadent than your typical granola bar, without adding too much to the sweetness profile—LOVE.

Did I mention that these are gluten free? And depending on what chocolate you use, they can be dairy free as well.

As much as I LOVE indulgent cookies, cakes, desserts and sweets in general, I also love good-for-you stuff and I’ve been dying to share my favorite granola bar recipe (that’s this one, right here!). It’s loaded with oats, nuts, finely chopped prunes (dried plums, my friends), coconut, chia seeds, olive oil and other good stuff. 

I partnered with my friends at California Prunes to make this sweet and salty treat that is teeming with minerals, antioxidants, fiber, protein and most importantly they are hella good and easy to make (I’ve got all the tips below!).

In this post you’ll find the why behind the ingredients, substitutions, step-by-step photos, a how-to video, granola bar storage info and finally, my favorite granola bar recipe. Enjoy!

A close up shot of the inside of a granola bar.

Soft & Chewy Granola Bar Ingredients

Below are all of the ingredients plus some substitution suggestions. I have even more substitutions in the following Customize Your Chocolate Granola Bars section.

Rolled Oats

The oats add a heap of texture, flavor and fiber. They are the vehicle that holds this convoy together. Don’t omit. If gluten free is a priority for you, check the label. See the below note on making oat flour (you don’t have to buy it!) in the How To Make Oat Flour section below.

Sliced Almonds

Almonds add some crunch, texture, flavor and healthy fat, fiber and protein (the trifecta). I love a combination of almonds and pecans…hazelnuts would also be delicious in these.

California Prunes

My love for these gems knows no bounds. Chopped up finely, these beauties are high in fiber, loaded with potassium and vitamins and, little known fact, prunes are actually lower in sugar than dates. Everyone is always using dates in smoothies and such but consider using prunes (aka dried plums) in the same way. I use them to sweeten my cashew milk that’s in my fridge at all times (for said smoothies). So good.

Shredded Coconut

The shredded coconut adds texture and flavor plus fat and fiber. Fabulous. Go for unsweetened…the sweetened variety just makes these, well, um, too sweet. 

Puffed Millet

I love puffed millet, amaranth (contains gluten), quinoa and rice and all of these work great in these chocolate granola bars.  Rice is the most readily available. Use what you can find and omit if there nowhere to be found in your neck of the woods. I love adding these to both granola and these granola bar as they pack in nutrients and texture. Love. 

Chocolate

Never met an occasion where chocolate didn’t make life better. I like mini chocolate chips in the base (not a lot) and a nice melted bittersweet chocolate for the exterior. 

These granola bars are best stored in the fridge, which makes tempering the chocolate an unnecessary step. Bonus, dark chocolate has some fabulous antioxidants tucked in there.

A reminder that dark chocolate is an umbrella term that covers everything from semi-sweet to bittersweet chocolate. So for the mini chocolate chips, feel free to use whatever strikes your fancy. 

This is likewise true for the chocolate coating, however I prefer bittersweet for there as it tempers the sweetness of the maple syrup and banana. But you do you!!

Chia Seeds 

Chia seeds are my jam. I put them in everything: smoothies, granola and yes, granola bars. Chia seeds are loaded with omega 3s, minerals, antioxidants, fiber and protein. Win. 

Real Maple Syrup

For our sweetener and to help bind the bars together. Use only real maple syrup as the fake behaves in really weird ways when you bake with it…plus it kinda grosses me out to be honest. You could sub in honey for the maple if you’d like.

Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

Except no substitutes! Love olive oil and use it in my granola all the time. It’s perfect in these bars and you won’t taste any strong olive oil flavor in the finished product. Plus, olive oil is a healthy fat loaded in antioxidants. We love to see it.

In a pinch you could use another high-quality oil, see the Customize Your Granola Bars below.

Why Banana in Granola Bars?

The humble banana acts to sweeten and bind our bars together. Make sure you mash it up really well. If you’re having a hard time getting it smooth you can blitz it in the blender with the olive oil and maple syrup. I eat a banana every day. I love them. They’re nature’s perfect fruit.

Cinnamon

Love me some spice and cinnamon is fab in these. You could experiment with some nutmeg, chai masala or five-spice or you can completely omit!

Vanilla Extract

Use real vanilla extract…imitation won’t work in these.

Sea Salt Flakes 

Because they are the dramatic finish we need.

In the next section I tell you how you can customize your Soft & Chewy Chocolate Granola bars!

A close  up of five chocolate granola bars on a white background.

Customize Your Chocolate Granola Bars

Seeds

Think of granola bars as well, granola, but in bar form. Some of my favorite granola ingredients include chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds. You can also replace the chia seeds with flaxseeds or any of the seeds listed above, for that matter!

Maple or Honey

When it comes to the maple syrup, you can swap it out for honey. This local honey is one of my favorites! The flavor of the honey or maple does come through in the final bar, so choose accordingly.

Puffed Grains

I’ve tested these with puffed amaranth (contains gluten), millet and quinoa. These can be tough to find, so you can also use puffed rice (which is different (and healthier) than Rice Crispies…although you could use those too!).

Oil

I’ve never been shy about my love of olive oil, but as mentioned above, you could use Sunflower Seed Oil, Avocado Oil or to add even more coconut flavor to the bars and you could use coconut oil. 

Protein

I’ll just be honest, protein really does help me stay full, longer. So, I like to squeak in it where I can. I sometimes add 2 scoops of collagen peptides or a couple of tablespoons of almond butter to this base recipe and both aren’t even noticeable. Feel free to add both! 

GRANOLA BAR TIP
When making substitutions, consider the balance of wet to dry ingredients. Right now, it’s the perfect balance to make the bars stick together. Add additional ingredients cautiously and in small quantities, unless they are used as a 1:1 substitution.

Half of a chocolate granola bar that has had a bite taken out of it.

How To Make Oat Flour

Oat flour is just oats that have been ground up. That’s it. I usually look at what the recipe calls for, in this case it’s 1/2 cup (45 g) oat flour. To get the correct amount I’ll get a heaping ½ cup (about 65 g) of rolled oats (not level) and blitz that in my blender until the consistency is that of flour.

Additionally, you can purchase oat flour at the grocery store.

The combination of oat flour, maple syrup and banana is the ‘glue’ that holds these granola bars together, if you’re wondering why oat flour? Why banana? That’s your answer!

A close up of five bars covered in chocolate with sea salt sprinkled over the top.

How to Get Perfectly Cut Granola Bars

The only way to get a perfect cut is to freeze these bars. They will not get rock hard, just quite firm making it easier to get the coveted clean cut. 

Do not skipping the freezing step prior to cutting them and use a very sharp knife.

A hand holding a granola bar over a bowl of melted chocolate.

Granola Bars Step-by-Step 

Below are step-by-step photos (with captions) to make your Soft & Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars perfect every time! My biggest tips are:

  1. Make sure you firmly and evenly press the granola mixture into the pan so that cohesive bars form.
  2. Give the granola bars a minimum of 3 hours to chill in the freezer before cutting and dipping. Make sure they are completely chilled through.
  3. When cutting, move slowly and deliberately so you get nice, sharp edges.
  4. Bring the dipping chocolate as close to room temperature before dipping the granola bars. Since the bars are soft and chewy, too much heat will make them fall apart.
  5. Store in the fridge for best results!


A bowl of granola bar dry ingredients.
STEP ONE: Add the oats through
chia seeds to a medium bowl.
A hand holding a lump of chopped prunes.
STEP TWO: Make sure you break up any clumps of chopped prunes.

A hand holding the well-mixed granola mixture.
STEP THREE: The mixture should be well blended and look like this.

Pour the wet ingredients into the granola mixture.
STEP FOUR: Pour in the well-blended mixture of maple syrup, banana, olive oil, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt.

A bowl with mixed granola and a spatula.
STEP FIVE: Stir until throughly combined and everything is well coated.
A parchment lined pan filled with granola mixture.
STEP SIX: Pour the granola mixture into the prepared pan.

Granola mixture pressed into a pan to make granola bars.
STEP SEVEN: Press firmly and evenly to compact the granola into the pan and then bake in the center of a 325°F (170°C) oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges of the pan.
A knife cutting granola bars.
STEP EIGHT: Use a sharp knife to cut the thoroughly chilled bars. Move slowly and deliberately to get the cleanest (sharpest) cuts.

A hand holding a granola bar over a bowl of dipping chocolate.
STEP NINE: Dip the very chilled bars in the melted and cooled chocolate
A fork holding a chocolate dipped granola bar over a bowl of chocolate.
STEP TEN: Dip completely in the chocolate, letting the excess drip back into the bowl

Eight perfectly  imperfect chocolate dipped granola bars.
STEP ELEVEN: Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and allow several hours for the chocolate to set

A very close up shot of chocolate covered granola bars.

Storing Your Soft & Chewy Granola Bars

Since we’re not tempering the chocolate, these bars are best stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Place parchment paper between layers to keep them looking fresh.

A baking dish with unbaked granola in it.

The Best Merch for Making Fab Chocolate Bars

My favorite tools for baking these granola bars are:

This is the 9 x 9-inch (23 x 23-cm) baking pan that I use for a bunch of my snacking cakes plus these soft and chewy bars!

A nice Silicone Spatula for stirring the granola bar base and won’t stick to the bars as you press them down prior to baking. And if you really wanna go for it, this silicon spatula really helps press down the mixture.

These nested, heat-safe Glass Bowls are perfect for mixing up your ingredients and melting chocolate.

A sharp sharp knife. 

I’ve adding a shopping section (woo hoo!), you can check it out here!

A line of granola bars with sea salt flakes over the top.

More Snacking Recipes

Some more healthy-ish recipes include these Soft & Chewy Chocolate Brownie Vegan Cookies, these Vegan Peppermint Brownies (that you can omit the peppermint and turn into classic brownies) and these Erewhon Market Knock-Off Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie (this is *not* a classic oatmeal cookie, btw). 

Don’t forget this Granola recipe that I love so much (it’s an old one, comment with any questions!).

And if you’re looking for more prune-based recipes, please check out my Flaky Buttery Prune Danish recipe (it’s ranked #1 on google) or my Five-Spice Prune Jam Bars are such a cozy treat. 

Let’s make some homemade Soft & Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars!

Happy Baking! xx

Two half eaten chocolate granola bars stacked on top of each other.

Soft & Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars

These homemade Soft & Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars are a granola bar-meet-candy bar situation, and completely loaded with good-for-you stuff! Easily mixed and baked they are perfectly sweet and salty, naturally gluten free and 100% customizable (see below). These will quickly become your new favorite snack!
5 from 4 reviews
Print Save Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Freezer Time, a minimum: 3 hours
Course: Snack
Cuisine: Snack Bar
Keyword: Granola Bar, Healthy, Gluten Free, Chocolate, Oats, Granola
Servings: 12 Bars

Ingredients

For the Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups (120 g) rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) sliced almonds (can also use chopped pecans or a combo)
  • 1/2 cup (45 g) oat flour see note above
  • 1/4 cup (32 g) California prunes, finely chopped (about 5 whole prunes)
  • 1/2 cup (25 g) unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • 1/4 cup (9 g) puffed millet (can also use puffed rice, amaranth or quinoa)
  • 3 tablespoons (33 g) mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons (18 g) chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup (170 g) real maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup (114 g) ripe banana, mashed (about 1 medium banana)
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

For the Dipping Chocolate

  • 1 ½ cup (255 g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon (28 g) coconut oil
  • Sea salt flakes

Instructions

For the Bars

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F (170°C) and grease and line a 9 x 9-inch (23 x 23-cm) baking pan with parchment, letting the excess parchment hang over two sides of the pan.
  • To a large bowl add the oats, nuts, California prunes, coconut flakes, puffed quinoa, chocolate chips and sesame seeds, stirring to combine. Use your hands to break up any larger chunks of prune stuck together and break them up coating them with the other ingredients so they don’t stick back together.
  • In a blender mix together the maple syrup, olive oil, mashed banana, cinnamon and salt until smooth. If you don’t have a blender you can really mash up the banana and thoroughly whisk the mixture. Pour into the large bowl, stirring to coat the granola mixture.
  • Pour into the prepared pan, pressing firmly and evenly with the back of a spatula, trying to make it as level and compact as possible. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden around the edges. Let cool completely before: 
    1) running a knife along the edges of the pan (to loosen from the sides), 
    2) covering the pan and 
    3) placing in the freezer to thoroughly chill and firm up for at least 3 hours or ideally, overnight.

For the Dipping Chocolate

  • In a medium, heat-safe bowl add the chocolate and set over a medium saucepan of simmering water. Do not let the bowl touch the water or let the water come to a boil. Stir frequently until almost melted then remove from the heat. Continue stirring until smooth. Lined a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

To Assemble

  • Take the bars out of the fridge and cut into 12 equal-size bars. Make slow and deliberate cuts to get the sharpest edges.
    Dip the entire granola bar into the cooled (but still liquid) chocolate, letting the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Set on the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with sea salt flakes and allow several hours for the chocolate to set; you can pop them into fridge on a parchment lined baking sheet, in a single layer to expedite. Once the chocolate has set, transfer to an air-tight container.
  • For best results, store the bars in an air-tight container in the fridge with parchment between layers.
Thanks for baking with me! Please rate + comment this recipe and tag me on social @displacedhousewife #displacedhousewife so I can see your beautiful treats! xo

These Soft & Chewy Chocolate Granola Bars were created in collaboration with California Prunes!! A big THANK YOU to them + you for supporting the brands I work with! When shopping, look for the California Grown license plate logo to know that you’re getting the goods from our awesome state!! 


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    6 Comments

    • Dad January 28, 2023 at 12:05 PM

      5 stars
      Oh my – so delicious. The maple as the sweetener is right on, use only the real stuff. Don’t be duped with the popular brands that are nothing but brown sugar water.

      Reply
    • Morgan January 26, 2023 at 8:14 AM

      5 stars
      These look absolutely delicious!!!! I have got to try them – seems like the perfect combo of healthy AND tasty!!

      Reply
      • Rebecca Firth January 26, 2023 at 10:48 AM

        Hi Morgan! I need the healthy-delicious combo. I hope you love! xo

        Reply
    • Michelle K. January 25, 2023 at 5:36 PM

      5 stars
      These look so good! What chocolate did you use?

      Reply
      • Rebecca Firth January 25, 2023 at 5:43 PM

        Hi Michelle!
        This is the chocolate I used:
        https://www.gygi.com/Callebaut-Belgian-Strong-Bittersweet-Callets-5.5-lb.-Bag

        It’s great for dipping!!! Using chocolate made for dipping (like this) or bars (instead of chips) will result in smoother chocolate that gives a nicer finish.

        That chocolate is pricey, two great grocery store brands are Ghirardelli or Guittard. And make sure to slowly melt your chocolate over low heat.

        Have fun and let me know if you have any other questions!! xo

        Reply

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