These nut-free cinnamon granola bars are vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, full of molasses 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!
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8 metal square pan with parchment paper, going in both directions, for easy release later.
To a large bowl, add the oats, rice flour, cinnamon, salt and stir well.
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.
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.
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.
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.