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Homemade KIND Bars {Gluten-Free, Vegan}

kind-bars 1

It’s no secret that I like to make and eat energy bars. Even in a household of three, it gets too pricey to buy them (between working out and packed lunches, we go through a lot). Moreover, I love that with homemade versions I can tweak the bars to my liking (almost endlessly) and that I have control over what’s going in to their creation. I’ve developed and shared a number of energy bars here, including my riffs on Homemade Lara Bars and Homemade Clif Bars, but that hasn’t stopped people from asking (often and a lot!) if I could develop a homemade version of  KIND Bars. At long last, here they are.

It took multiple tries to get the ratios correct; I’m used to making chewy, as opposed to crisp-ish bars. But I used the ingredients on the labels of the bars as my guide and a few delicious stumbles later (the failed attempts were still yummy, even if they did not stick together), I’ve got it! And here’s equally appealing news: they are incredibly easy to make with very few ingredients.

Nevertheless, be sure to read all of my tips and cautions before you jump in. For example, lining the pan with foil–and giving it a spritz of cooking spray (you could grease the foil, too) is critical, as is (a) cutting the bars before they are completely cool (they will break apart if you cut them fully cooled–not a terrible thing, but you’ll have uneven portions and a lot of crumbles) and (b) waiting until the bars are completely cool before attempting to peel off the foil (the bars will stick like barnacles when warm, but peel off with ease when cooled).

But that’s it! You can recreate the flavor blends of existing KIND bars (their websites include ingredient lists of all of the flavors), or mastermind your own combinations. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for a coffee break and a homemade bar. Enjoy–and let me know if you try them! I would love to link your experiments to this page to share with all.

When the bars first come out, they will not look set; don’t worry.
Let them cool in the pan at room temperature for about
15 minutes and they will hold together (but will still be soft enough to cut).
While the bars are still slightly warm and pliable (about 15 minutes of cooling), use the foil overhang to
lift them from the pan. Do not–repeat, DO NOT!–try to remove them from the foil at this point.
They will stick like crazy and can pull apart. Patience, grasshopper.
With a large sharp knife, cut into 8 equal-size bars (or smaller pieces,
whatever you prefer). Now, let cool completely.
Ta-da! Once the bars are completely cooled, they will lift right off of the foil!
And there you have it! Wrap these up snug. I like to use wax paper or parchment; foil is fine,
but be sure to keep them in a dry, cool place; if the bars heat up (e.g., tucked into your backpack that is
exposed to the sun for a long period, the bars will become slightly sticky/tacky
and can stick to the foil. It’s not a problem with wax paper or parchment; plus they
look so cute in little paper packages–simply secure with a piece of tape).
Yield: 10

Homemade KIND Bars {Gluten-Free, Vegan}

Homemade KIND Bars {Gluten-Free, Vegan}
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1-1/3 cups toasted or raw nuts or seeds, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup crisp rice cereal (Erewhon brand for Gluten-free, or Rice Krispies)
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried fruit (any variety/combination to create different tastes; this also includes unsweetened coconut)
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup brown rice syrup or organic corn syrup (e.g., Wholesome Sweeteners brand)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8-inch square pan (9-inch is too big* see note below) with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray or grease with your favorite oil (do not skip these steps!).
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the chopped nuts/seeds, cereal, and dried fruit. Add the salt and syrup and stir to coat.
  3. Scrape/dump mixture into prepared pan. Now, to press it out evenly: Tear off a good size piece of foil (around the size of the pan or slightly smaller). Lightly spray it with nonstick spray. Use the sprayed side of foil to press and spread evenly into pan. Works like a charm!
  4. Bake for 18 minutes (the bars will not be hard at this point). Place pan on cooling rack and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes (give or take) until partially set up (it will depend on how hot or cold the kitchen—just don’t cool completely). Use the sides of foil to lift the bars from the pan. Do not try to remove from foil—they will stick like crazy. Cut into 10 bars.
  5. Go and do something else until bars are completely cooled. Once cooled, the bars will lift right off of the foil. Wrap in parchment or wax paper and store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

Variation

Just Nuts KIND Bars: Follow recipe above but omit the dried fruit; increase the nuts to 2 cups.

Notes
Note about Toasted vs. Raw Nuts: I am a big fan of the toasted nut. You can use either raw or toasted in these bars, but seriously…they are so much yummier if you toast the nuts first! If you, like me, experience burst of laziness, feel free to use roasted nuts (seeds, too). If they are lightly salted, just be sure to omit the added salt.

Note about Measuring Nuts: Measure the nuts BEFORE you chop (i.e., 1 cup unchopped nuts, then chop them). If you measure 1 cup chopped nuts, you will have too many.

Note about Measuring Dried Fruit: Conversely to measuring nuts, here you want to chop the fruit first, and then measure.

Note about Pans: If you don’t have the correct pan size, don’t fret. If you have a 9-inch pan, you can increase all of the quantities slightly (e.g., about 1-2/3 to 1-3/4 cups total nuts and seeds, 1/2 cup dried fruit, 1/3 cup syrup). Cooking times remain the same. And if you only have a round pan, use it! Who says these have to be cut into rectangles? Wedges or crazy shapes are pretty cool and every bit as delicious.

Did you make this recipe?

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Ann

Thursday 12th of November 2015

Someone may have commented on this already but step 1 has "spray with" and nothing thereafter and step 2 doesn't mention adding the rice krispies which threw me off as it was in the oven without it when I realized I hadn't added the cereal - out it came and I pressed the cereal onto the top and put it back in for the rest of the time.

Hope they come out as good as yours does as I LOVE Kind bars and look forward to having my own taste just as good.

Thank you!

Camilla

Saturday 14th of November 2015

Ann, thank you so much for spotting these errors--after all this time, no one else ever noticed (esp. me!). I have made the changes. Hope your bars came out great!!! :)

Emily Koehn

Monday 2nd of November 2015

Kind Healthy Grains Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate recipe?

Camilla

Wednesday 11th of November 2015

I am working on it, per your request, Emily!

Sarah

Tuesday 24th of March 2015

Hi!

I've been looking for a "Kind" bar recipe and have made 2 other before I came across yours. Both recipes were a total failure. One called for honey & rice syrup and needed no baking (just heating up honey and syrup) and turned out super sticky and syrupy. They didn't stick together well and were a sticky mess. The other only called for honey and needed baking. These turned out sticky at the bottom (like all the sugars had fallen to the bottom) and didn't keep their form when cut into bars - they just crumbled.

These and yours look very similar to me and I really don't want more waste. Can you provide more information on the texture of your bars? Are they sticky and do they hold up? Would really appreciate any more information on what keeps them together and able to eat without needed to run and wash your hands immediately.

Thanks so much!!!

Camilla

Monday 16th of May 2016

You are so welcome, Sarah!

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