Nut-Free Cinnamon Molasses Granola Bars

Nut-Free Cinnamon Molasses Granola Bars

My new addiction right here....these. Omg, I literally moaned eating these bars. I'm so excited to share this recipe. These are super soft, chewy, almost like a soft cookie. They have a warm cinnamon flavor and scent and the perfect touch of molasses. Can you believe it's been 5 posts and a month and a half since I last posted a new sweet treat on the blog....gasp?! I'm pretty proud of myself for that, hahaha. I'm trying to post a little less desserts this year. Don't worry, I will still be making them of course, just not quite as often. I don't know if I would call this straight up, dessert, as it's a granola bar, not exactly screaming "dessert"! However, it does have sweetener in it, so I wouldn't exactly call it a salad, either.

I created these for a reader who requested a granola bar that could be easy to make and also be nut-free. Well, I already have a delicious granola bar on the blog, my Almond Pulp Chocolate Chip Bars, which are a big reader favorite and my Cinnamon Roll Breakfast Bars, which are my favorite. 

Enter these Vegan Nut-Free Cinnamon Molasses Granola Bars. My favorite flavor of all-time is cinnamon. The more, the better. I added a good dose of molasses to further enhance that cinnamon flavor and also give great binding quality to the bars. I used white rice flour in these as well, typically not in a granola bar, but instead of oat flour, the white rice flour gives better structure. These have a wonderful, chewy texture to them.

Instead of almond butter, I used sunbutter. I originally tried a version of coconut butter and tahini, but it didn't work that well. It didn't help them to hold as well, and the tahini was too strong in my opinion.

These sunbutter granola bars are a wonderful butter-free, dairy-free and nut-free option, so most people can enjoy them. These bars are made with wholesome ingredients and all without any added oils or refined sugars. Super delicious with a homemade latte too, I might add. These are great for snacks or a quick on-the-go breakfast.

I can't wait to hear what you all think of these Nut-Free Cinnamon Molasses Granola Bars! As always, it's super important to me when I work so hard in the kitchen creating these recipes for you all, to hear your feedback below in the comments. It's the best thing ever! Be sure to drop me a line and rate the recipe! If you are on Instagram, tag me #thevegan8 with your pic as well, I'd love to see them. Many of  you also tag me often on Facebook, so keep that up too! 🙂


Yields 16

Nut-Free Cinnamon Molasses Granola Bars

These cinnamon molasses bars are so full of flavor and have a nice crispy exterior, while the interior is dreamy soft and chewy. Perfect for snacks or an on-the-go breakfast. Easy to make and just 8 ingredients total (+salt) to make these! Say hello to your new addiction!

15 minPrep Time

30 minCook Time

45 minTotal Time

Recipe Image
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Ingredients

  • 2 cups (200g) gluten-free rolled oats (do not use quick oats)
  • 3/4 cup (120g) white rice flour (brown will not work or hold as well)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (9g) ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup (135g) unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup (237g) sunbutter (or almond butter if you don't need it nut-free)
  • 1/2 cup (160g) pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup (80g) regular unsulphured molasses , not blackstrap, it's TOO strong
  • 1 tablespoon (15g) vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 metal square pan with parchment paper, going in both directions, for easy release later.
  2. To a large bowl, add the oats, rice flour, cinnamon, salt and stir well.
  3. Add the applesauce, sunbutter, syrup and molasses to a small sauce pan over the stove. Whisk until it is smooth. Now turn the heat to medium. Once it comes to a simmer around the edges, whisk continually for about 1-2 minutes, scraping along the edges. You are only wanting to do this just so it slightly thickens and by heating the mixture, it will become much more sticky and assist in the bars binding well. 2 minutes is enough.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and whisk in. Immediately pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and stir really well with a spoon until it comes together and gets really sticky, about a couple of minutes. You want to spend a couple of minutes stirring underneath and around, making sure to get all the rice flour. Spread the mixture into your prepared pan with the back of your spoon or by dragging a rubber spatula across, making sure the top is flat and the corners are even too.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes, when it is very golden brown and the top is firm and shiny. Remove and you must let the bars cool a full hour before cutting. They will firm up a TON while cooling, so don't get all impatient and ruin them by cutting them while still hot! Trust me, ok? After the hour is up, lift out the bars with the parchment paper and carefully slice them into bars with a really sharp knife, making sure to cut all the way through each bar, so they don't tear when you lift them. Take a bite and tell me below how incredible they are right?! I'll be eager to hear your feedback.
  6. Store at room temperature and they will remain firm, but soft. Yummy either way. I like to wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap to conceal the freshness.
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73 Comments

  1. Yum yum yum! Love that you used some actual flour in there too and not just oats! Hearty ;)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Ha, yes! This is my first time actually using a regular flour in granola bars and I absolutely LOVE the texture of them. They are not so oaty when eating them, like a traditional granola bar, but almost like a blondie or bread-ish bar. Really soft.
      • I was thinking they looked like blondies! Sounds perfect, although I probably will swap in almond or better yet cashew butter, not a huge fan of sunbutter here, but otherwise these look and sound delicious.
    • I really love ❤️ your Granola recipe here but wondering if I can use an all purpose gluten free flour instead of yours
  2. These look amazing! I love molasses flavor!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Shannon! I do too, as long as it's not overpowering and these have just the right touch, so yummy!
  3. I LOVE everything about these. From the use of sunbutter to the pairing of cinnamon and molasses!! Total yum.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Kaila! They turned out incredible!
  4. Those look really good!!! Thanks for sharing :)
  5. Oh wow I would love to wake up on this, Brandi! I can only imagine how delicious those smell and taste. Your pictures look so warm and inviting. It's amazing that you use not only oats and go one with brown rice flour further. I bet it gives the right texture and crunch into those bars. Love the you give two option for allergic and non allergic people so everyone can enjoy those.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so very much Florian! So glad you love them! The texture turned out just amazing, super soft with a slight crispy edge :)
  6. Molasses, cinnamon, oats, applesauce, vanilla this is snacking heaven right here! And with some not so typical ingredients in the mix too. White rice flour is something I've been wanting to experiment with for a while, never would thought of it in a granola bar, but these could be a good place to start! And that chewy chunky texture <3 I can't say I'm okay with this whole fewer desserts thing though, I love your sweet posts soooooo much!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Haha! I know, I normally post a dessert in between every 2-3 recipes, which is just too much. Going to this 6th post, being the first sweet, is abnormal but a good thing. The problem is my dessert ideas run wild and will take over and lately I've been so inspired in the kitchen for savoury, so I really want to focus on that. Plus, much healthier, but I'm sure I will still stick to a sweet recipe once a month. Yes, I love rice flour, but this is definitely my first time using it in a bar like this and they gave so much more structure and hold to the bars than with just oat flour! It was just my experimenting in the kitchen that led to a surprising, wonderful result. I did have to do 3 trials total though because the first 2 batches were too dry and not sweet enough, so the 3rd batch turned out perfect.
  7. Oh wow these look to die for. Haha I need to quit both my jobs so I can just make your recipes all day everyday haha. Seriously so many things I want to make on your blog and plus I get cravings for things I made of yours already so I end up wanting to make them again so I am on overload just wanting to make everything haha. And this recipe is making my head spin haha I will get to this for sure. Not sure when but I will. I need to buy bakeware. Cause I also have my eye on your lentil loaf but I have no baking dishes. So I must go shopping for a loaf pan and an 8x8 pan ?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Aww you are the sweetest Christina! I'm so happy you make so many recipes, they always look like total perfection too on Instagram! And hey, no nuts on these! :)
  8. These look amazing, Brandi!
  9. I always forget about sunflower butter! I'd better get on these ASAP - the ingredients are right up my alley!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Annie! I'm not a big fan of the taste of sunbutter, so it has to be masked really well and the loads of cinnamon and molasses really do the job!
  10. This disk looks wonderful, but will Whole Grain Brown Rice flour work instead of the White Rice? I'm behind ... I want to make the Vegan Double Chocolate Sunflower Brownies, but I need to pick up some ingredients first.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I think brown rice flour should be fine. I have only tested it with white rice flour so I’m unsure if the brown rice flour will leave any aftertaste, but I think the cinnamon and molasses will cover it well. Let me know how it turns out!
  11. Ann
    I would really like to make these tonight but I don't have any white rice flour or white rice to make flour. Would they work with brown rice flour or a different kind of flour? They do not need to be gluten free.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Ann! I think brown rice flour should be fine. I have only tested it with white rice flour so I'm unsure if the brown rice flour will leave any aftertaste, but I think the cinnamon and molasses will cover it well. Let me know how it turns out!
  12. "I'll have what she's having!" I am feeling a little dirty after reading this post....this goes into the "make immediately" pile! ;)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hahaha that made me laugh! Let me know when you try them!
      • OK so they came out awesome!!! I doubled the recipe and I was talking on the phone so I totally screwed up and didn't see the directions to heat up the liquids but then followed the rest of the directions and let them kind of sit a minute and meld together before I baked them. It worked great anyway. I love that they are soft but cooked thru. I pressed a few chocolate chips into the top right before baking and they were a hit!! Definitely a keeper if they can survive my baking!
        • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
          Yay! Thank you so much Lili! I'm so happy to hear they were such a hit, even forgetting a step, lol!! Thanks so much for the feedback!
  13. Ah Brandi these made me squeal - especially the shot in the bowl - nom nom! I'm desperate for bars or anything delicious at the moment, so these look heavenly! I have a quick question - is unsulphured molasses the same, more or less, as sweet molasses? We don't get maple syrup here that doesn't cost a car, so I might try the sweet molasses in bigger quantities, but not sure if the unsulphured one has a slightly darker taste, kind of like blackstrap molasses, or else is more neutral, like say agave? Sorry if that doesn't make sense - there should be a virtual spectrum that one can indicate through mental and sensory mapping!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Margaux! Unsulphured is much more mild than blackstrap molasses. Blackstrap will be way too strong for these. I guess unsulphured regular molasses would be considered the sweet one, but honestly it doesn't taste sweet at all, nothing like agave. I would replace the syrup with agave and just the regular (not blackstrap) molasses in these. It will change the flavor a bit since agave is more one note and not as deep warm flavor as maple syrup, but they should still be good! Let me know if you try them!
  14. These look so moist and flavoursome Brandi! I love the combination of cinnamon and molasses - I definitely don't use molasses enough at home. I'm obsessed with granola bars, so I definitely need to try these! Such a great idea to use sun butter!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Harriet! The combo turned out so darn delicious!
  15. You had me at nut free....YUM!
  16. These literally look like the most perfect granola bars. I bet they are amazing for weekday breakfasts! Pinning fo sho :)
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So sweet of you Hannah! Thank you so much for your kind words!
  17. Wow! That's a long time without posting a sweet treat! I've been so distracted by all of your latest yummy recipes that I honestly didn't notice! These look and sound wonderful! What a great combination of flavors - you obviously had me at cinnamon and molasses :) YUM!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Mandy! I wish you could have oats :(
  18. these are easy, healthy, and delicious - all my favorite things!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      So awesome to hear you loved these Gail, thank you so much! Loved your pic of them on Facebook too!
  19. […] my golly, how delicious do these nut free granola bars […]
  20. These sound like the perfect afternoon snack, Brandi! I just want to make a pot of Earl Grey tea and eat two or three of these savory bars.
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      I've had them with both chai tea and coffee and I swear it's heaven, haha! Thanks so much Linda!
  21. Love everything about these. I am in love with molasses and you know how I feel about cinnamon! Would be great for breakfast, snack or even dessert!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thanks so much Jenn! I agree, we have eaten these as both breakfast and mid-day snack, so dang good with hot tea too!
  22. Molasses?! Cinnamon?! SOLD! Give me now! Why are they not here yet?!!!
  23. Yum! Cinnamon and Molasses sound like the perfect combo. Definitely a recipe worth trying!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you Vanessa! Yes, please do!
  24. Oh dear, you and your super crisp photos again!! Plus the recipe sounds absolutely delicious as well. I never tried molasses by the way!
    • Aww thank you so much Howie! Your comment seriously made me smile!! Truly, thank you. I can't believe you've never tried molasses?!
  25. I love making my own bars and I'm always looking for new recipes like this
  26. They look amazing! Cinnamon is one of my favourite flavours. Can;t wait to try them!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Mel!
  27. These were delicious! My toddler and I absolutely love them! I used almond butter but I am getting some sun butter to try as well! Wonderful recipe!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Meta! So happy to hear these were such a hit! My toddler loves them too. Thank you very much for the feedback!
  28. Brandi! these look SO good and chewy! I have heard molasses helps your hair grow thicker which I could totally go for lol my hair is thin! so this is an awesome tasty way to eat some molasses! ... some people eat it plain but no way I could do that! ;-) happy weekend girl!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      No way?! I've never heard that before, lol! Well, my hair is insanely thick, but I don't eat enough molasses for it to be the reason, haha. But all the veggies sure help! Thanks so much girl!
  29. These look like the perfect snack, Brandi! :-) I absolutely LOVE cinnamon!
  30. I'm making these first thing in the morning!
  31. These look great and much healthier than most store bought bars.
  32. Thank you, Brandi for the recipe. Made this last weekend. I am not used to cooking or baking with molasses but had some sitting around so I thought I'd try. My bars came out darker than yours and I can definitely detect the unusual taste but I like them. The only changes I made was to use brown rice flour (since didn't have white rice) and used half of the maple syrup as I don't like the deserts too sweet (who could have thought before I started plant based and was off sugar for some time?). It was plenty sweet for me and actually I thought the taste was a bit chocolaty. Strange since there is no cocoa powder. Did you find it chocolaty too? Simple to make and delicious. What else can you ask for? Will definitely have to repeat. Next time - double portion :)
    • By the way, saw you in the clip of Eating You Alive on YouTube. Quite excited to watch the documentary :)
      • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
        Oh awesome, so glad you know about the documentary! I'm so beyond excited to see the whole thing, I'm truly honored to be in the movie!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Wonderful Milda! I'm so happy to hear you loved these! Did you use sunbutter or almond butter? The almond butter will yield a much darker color and also the brown rice flour is slightly darker than the white rice flour I used. Chocolatey?? No, I didn't get that at all, haha! Just lots of cinnamon with a molasses undertone. Did you use blackstrap molasses by chance? It will yield a darker color and flavor, more similar to chocolate than the lighter molasses. Regardless, I'm so glad you loved these, thank you for the feedback!
      • I used almond butter. The molasses I have says unsulphured on the front but in ingredients it says blackstrap. I am not sure I've seen non-blackstrap molasses though. In any case, turned out delicious. I found them tasting even better the next day :)
        • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
          Wonderful Milda! So glad they worked out still and you loved them, thank you so much for the feedback! Yes, there are 2 kind of molasses, regular and blackstrap which is super dark. I have both in my pantry. Here is the link to the regular kind that I mainly use for recipes. Thanks so much again! I agree too, they get even sweeter the next day, yum :) This is just regular molasses, it's not as intense as blackstrap, which I find to be overpowering. http://amzn.to/1PUMXfW
  33. Can the molasses be substituted with any other ingredient? Possibly agave or coconut sugar? Also, I use spelt flour at home can I use spelt flour for this recipe?
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Maria! I wouldn't recommend agave or coconut sugar. That will make the bars too sweet. You need a very sticky, thick liquid like molasses, as that is what helps hold the bars together. The best sub, and which another reader used, would be brown rice syrup. I have not tried it with spelt, so I can't vouch for the results with it, but I would try it and let me know how they turn out. I think it should be ok.
  34. Super yummy!!!!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Thank you so much Julie, so happy you loved these! Loved your pic of them on Instagram too!
  35. Just made these. Can't wait to eat them with my coffee in the morning. I subbed peanut butter and coconut flour. A little less than the recipe called for. Seems like it worked out. A little sweet for me, maybe the peanut butter added to it. I will make again though, yum!
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Nikki! Glad you liked them. Yes, coconut flour behaves completely different than the rice flour, so I wouldn't have suggested using it. It's also sweeter than rice flour and will give a different flavor and texture profile. I would use that next time for best results! :)
  36. Hi Brandi. What brand of sun butter do you use? My local store where I shop the brands have some come sweetener in them. Would love a recommendation? Thanks Susan
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Susan! I make my own because all the stores tend to have oil in them. I just buy raw, unsalted sunflower kernels and process them in my food processor for a LONG time until it becomes really, really smooth, almost runny. It takes quite awhile to turn it from super sticky thick to smooth and runny but it eventually will happen. You have to scrape the sides a few times during.
  37. Sorry I already asked what I wanted to know if it's possible to up my gluten oats in place of the rice flour which I never use or could I ground up my oats for the 3/4 rice flour, pls email me
    • brandi.doming@yahoo.com
      Hi Barbara! Yes, I just replied to your comment on my Vegan 8 page. You asked to use a gluten-free blend but you are asking about oats, not sure which one you want to use, but oat flour will not work here I'm afraid the bars would fall apart. Rice flour has a very strong binding effect, so you are welcome to try it out, but I don't think it would hold well. It would probably be more like a granola instead of a bar. That is my guess since I've only tested it with rice flour.

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