Dark Chocolate Brownie Granola Bars

A little healthy and a little indulgent, these dark chocolate brownie granola bars are incredible (and they’re also dairy-, egg-, and gluten-free)! Soft bake them or add time for a little crunch!

close view of broken dark chocolate brownie granola bar

I kind of hate the overuse of the word “obsessed” these days, but I’m just going to go ahead and a) cringe, b) call myself a hypocrite, and c) say: I’m totally obsessed with these dark chocolate brownie granola bars. 

And I really mean it. No hyperbole here. Ob.Sessed.

Healthy enough to fall into the solid granola bar category but indulgent enough to be a serious treat, we can’t keep these around longer than a day (two days max).

cutting apart dark chocolate brownie granola bars into thin rectangles

Inspired by this ridiculously delicious dark chocolate granola recipe, I knew I had to try a brownie/bar form after a reader (thanks, Rebecca!) said she had done the same in order to make that crazy popular granola more portable. 

The end result is a lightly sweet chocolate granola bar that is a little bit soft and a little bit crunchy. (Not a chewy granola bar.)

The basic premise is the same: dry granola-y ingredients are tossed with a simple, sweet syrup.

Here are the differences:

  • instead of being baked and then broken into clumps, the granola mixture is pressed into a 9X13-inch pan and baked
  • in addition to the oats, coconut, cocoa powder and almonds, a little bit of almond flour is added

dry ingredients for dark chocolate brownie granola bars in glass bowl

Flour Substitutions

Why do these granola bars need flour?

Well, the flour lends a bit more structure to the bars instead of the fall-apart gaps that the otherwise chunky ingredients provide. 

In fact, it’s what gives these bars a brownie-ish vibe. Otherwise they’d just be a dark chocolate granola bar (delicious, but not the same). The flour is important. 

If you don’t have almond flour or are working around an allergy, you can sub an equal amount of oat flour. You can do this by processing oats in a blender until finely ground. I’m guessing the same amount of all-purpose flour would work, too (haven’t tried this sub yet). 

I’ve made them with almond flour and oat flour – almond is my favorite, but both give great results. 

pouring syrup onto dark chocolate brownie granola bar ingredients

The syrup

All good granola bars and granola recipes need a syrup to glue everything together. 

In this case, we’re combining:

  • melted coconut oil
  • brown sugar
  • honey 
  • salt and vanilla

Simple, simple, simple. And if the syrup separates a little while mixing, don’t worry. Just pour it all in. 

Toss all that goodness together until it’s evenly combined. The mixture will definitely look more like granola than brownie batter. 

mixing dark chocolate brownie granola bar "batter"

Chocolate Chips

After the granola and syrup is tossed together, I like to add a healthy amount of chocolate chips. Bittersweet only, thankyouverymuch. 

You can use semisweet. But since this is an official dark chocolate recipe, I cannot condone the use of milk chocolate. I am very sorry. 

Can we still be friends?

chocolate chips mixed into dark chocolate brownie granola bar ingredients

Press the granola mixture into a parchment lined 9X13-inch pan.

You don’t want to smash the mixture to smithereens getting it into an even layer, but you do want to press gently. The tighter it is compressed, the less crumbly the bars will be after baking and cooling.

So just hit middle ground between loosey goosey and compressed cement.

pressing dark chocolate brownie granola bars into 9X13-inch pan

Soft vs Crunchy

For a softer dark chocolate brownie granola bar, bake for about 16-17 minutes. 

For a crispier, crunchier dark chocolate granola bar, bake for 23-25 minutes. 

I like somewhere right in the middle. About 20 minutes is my sweet spot for these bars. 

They will look soft when you pull them out of the oven but they set up and develop a crunchier texture as they cool. So if you want a softer bar, take care not to over bake.

Just remember, at the end of the day, we’re still talking about granola here, so even the softer baked bars have a granola vibe to them. A very, very delicious granola vibe.

baked pan of dark chocolate brownie granola bars

I like to let the bars cool before cutting since the warm chocolate chips can be a bit messy when cutting. 

But if you went for extra crispy granola bars, it might be easier to cut them (or at least score lines in them) while warm. 

Win Win

The beauty of these dark chocolate brownie granola bars is that even if they do turn out a little crunchier than you wanted, guess what?

You just go ahead and crumble up that madness, and claim to everyone you know that you just made the most amazing batch of chocolate granola of your life. 

dark chocolate brownie granola bar on parchment paper

Cut ’em Up

The bars can be cut into classic granola bar shape. Or you can go for squares. There’s really no wrong way to cut them. 

I use my bench knife {aff. link} for cutting the granola bars. It’s only one of a million reasons why I love that thing. 

Yes, these dark chocolate granola bars are a bit messy. Yes, you may need to eat them over the sink if you don’t want to let your family know you’re digging into the batch via the trail of crumbs you leave on the floor and your shirt. Yes, it’s totally worth it. 

Although I wouldn’t go so far as to consider these granola bars “health food,” I definitely throw them into the category of Get Your Chocolate Fix With a Tiny Bit Less Guilt. 

And I’ll take that. They are phenomenal. I hope you love them!

dark chocolate brownie granola bars cut into squares

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Dark Chocolate Brownie Granola Bars

Yield: 9X13-inch pan of bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Dark Chocolate Brownie Granola Bars

Ingredients

Bars:

  • 2 cups (7 ounces) old-fashioned oats (gluten-free, if needed)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup (1.5 ounces) Dutch-process or dark cocoa powder (see note)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) almond flour (see note)
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 ounces) sweetened or unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips

Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9X13-inch pan with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, almonds, cocoa, almond flour, and coconut.
  3. In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, whisk together the coconut oil, brown sugar, honey, salt and vanilla. It's ok if it separates a bit.
  4. Stir the syrup mixture into the dry ingredients until evenly combined. Add the chocolate chips and toss together.
  5. Press the mixture lightly into the prepared pan until it is in an even layer. The harder you press, the less crumbly the bars will be, but don't overdo it. A gentle press with the palms of your hands should do it.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes (decrease time for softer bars or increase for extra crunchiness). The bars will look soft coming out of the oven but will set up and get crispier as they cool.

Notes

Cocoa Powder: I use Dutch-process cocoa in this recipe for a richer, darker flavor. You can try subbing in natural, unsweetened cocoa powder (I haven't tried it). It'll likely make the bars slightly less sweet and not quite as dark chocolate.

Almond Flour: you can sub in all-purpose or oat flour (easy to make at home: just process oats in a blender until finely ground) for the almond flour. The flour is one of the things that gives these a special texture (and sets them apart from a straight up granola bar).

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Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe (inspired by a Love Crunch mashup a reader, Rebecca C., sent me)

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