Todd hardly ever has time to sit and eat a healthy breakfast when he is home. Which makes it my personal mission to create healthy bars that he can eat on the go, that are delicious enough for him to actually stop and think about grabbing during his morning rush. Up until recently I have been making raw bars every week, and I have to admit they are my favorite, especially my new Almond Joy Raw Bars!

However, I think that Todd has been secretly growing a little tired of them and has been longing for something different. How do I know that? Well, he quit grabbing them on the way out of the door, that means his taste buds are bored! So, here is my answer to a new on-the-go breakfast bar, it takes a little more time than the raw bars, but when Todd ate the first one of these his eyes literally rolled up into his head and he declared that these bars were the most addictively delicious granola bars he had ever eaten! 

The real test was to see how long these granola bars lasted and if he actually remembered to grab them in the morning. I am happy to report that these bars were gone at a rate of 3 per day which tells me that they are a real winner if he is now carting them around for breakfast and healthy snack options.

 *Todd now compares their addict-ability to that of crack…I think that is supposed to be good although I assure you neither of us know anything about crack!

Rise & Shine Energy Bars for My Favorite Person! (Gluten-Free)
Serves: 12 bars
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 cup gluten-free oats
  • ⅓ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup flax seeds
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ cup honey
  • 4 Tbsp. unsalted earth balance or butter
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. g-free vanilla extract
  • 2 cups g-free puffed brown rice cereal
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the pecans, oats, pine nuts, and flax seeds on the sheet and bake about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
  2. In a saucepan, bring the sugar, honey, butter or Earth Balance, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and a light brown caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Pour the caramel over the nut and oat mixture. Stir in the brown rice cereal and the cranberries until evenly coated.
  4. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, extend the paper over the sides of the pan to use as a handle later. Pour the cereal mixture into the baking dish and spread out into an even layer. Cover the pan with a second piece of parchment and press down to compress the bars. Let the mixture stand for about 2 hours until firm.
  5. Discard the top piece of parchment and use the "handles" from the second piece of parchment to gently remove the cereal square from the pan then cut the squares into 12 equal size bars and serve.
*I have been making a batch of these at the beginning of the week and wrapping them individually in plastic wrap. I keep them in the refrigerator so we can pull out as many as we want each morning. Just be sure to let them come to room temp before you eat them because they really harden up in the fridge, but they will soften back to a crispy, chewy granola bar in a few minutes.

Inspired by Lara Ferroni's Real Snacks



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64 Responses to Rise & Shine Energy Bars for My Favorite Person!

  1. Dana says:

    Meg, I can’t bake fast enough! I still need to make those amazing almond joy bars and these will definitely be next. Pine nuts are such an intriguing addition!

    • Meg says:

      Thanks Dana! I have been baking a lot lately… I think with a cross country move looming over us and a very rambunctious 2 year old it makes me feel like I am at least in control of something, even if it is only baked goods! Haha!

  2. Meg – these bars looks amazing!! What a perfect way to start the day :) I LOVE granola bars (especially when they’re gluten-free!).

    • Meg says:

      Thanks Alyssa! I am forever trying to get my family to eat a healthy breakfast so granola bars and raw bars are a must in our house for when we are on the go, but I hate buying the premade bars at the store. I just don’t trust the manufacturers of a lot of those brands enough to fuel my families bodies with them.

  3. I love everything about these rise and shine bars! totally going to make these this weekend! thanks for another great recipe1

  4. Vespa Woolf says:

    I can’t wait to try these! I like the idea of adding puffed brown rice cereal to lighten up the bars. Thanks for the storage tips, too.

  5. suzi says:

    These are perfect for sending with my boys as they go out to battle the next snowstorm. They are in their trucks for 30+ hours and need something quick and nourishing to keep them going, and I bet these will hold up fine!! thanks for sharing!

  6. Amanda says:

    Made these bars with a few modifications (sunflower seeds instead of pine nuts, chia seeds instead of flax seeds, chocolate chips instead of cranberries [my 3 year old insisted], forgot the salt). Anyway, result was delicious. Thanks for the great website!

  7. Peggy says:

    Can’t find pine nuts. Can I leave out or substitute something else?

    • Meg says:

      Peggy, these bars are great with any sort of nut or seed substituted in. We build these bars a few different ways on a regular basis, my husband likes the pecans and pine nuts, my daughter likes walnuts and sunflower seeds. I have also built these same bars substituting in pistachios for the pine nuts and we loved them!

  8. taca says:

    How long can they be on room temperature without becoming very soft or even to began to melt? Can I keep them out of the refrigerator on the kitchen table all day? Thanks :)

    • Meg says:

      Hi, we eat these bars so quickly that I often leave mine out on a serving plate covered with plastic wrap. They will not melt or soften at all. I have had a batch sitting out for up to 3 days at a time and the bars have been fine.

  9. Sharon says:

    Meeting up with my husband who is walking across America so I made these to help him have something for quick energy when needed. I used milled flax seeds instead of the seeds, added craisins infused with pomegrante juice, walnuts (coarsely chopped), dried blueberries and coconut and then tripled the recipe using a Pampered Chef jelly roll pan, fit perfectly. Thanks for the recipe, it looks amazing.

    • Meg says:

      Wow, walking across America! That is amazing, I hope that these bars give him the added burst of energy he needs:) Your version sounds amazing by the way.

  10. Amanda says:

    This is a great recipe. Thank you so much for sharing. I’ve made it twice now and both times, the bars have disappeared within a matter of days!

  11. Laurel says:

    This recipient looks great. What can I use in place of the lite brown sugar. We are trying to stay away from sugar and I don’t want to use anything fake either. Thanks.

  12. Janet m says:

    Do you happen to have an estimate on the protein level in the rise and shine bars?
    I am trying to up my protein intake.

  13. usaswtladybug says:

    Why won’t my mix stick together?
    Did I do something wrong?

  14. usaswtladybug says:

    Do you put this back in the oven
    After you pack it down for about 30 minutes . I just made a pan and got nothing the mix set for 2 hours and
    Nothing it just falls apart need help

    • Meg says:

      Oh no! I am so sorry you are having trouble with the recipe. When you put the ingredients into the baking dish to set did you press down firmly to pack all of the ingredients together?

  15. usaswtladybug says:

    Yes but I had to let set overnight.
    And they are good . Thank You For Your Recipes

  16. Iain & Sue says:

    Hi Meg

    Having looked at a great number of “Energy Bar” recipes in order to align one with our Gorillaxtreme brand, we chose yours in preference to all the others. Why? Well, apart from looking like a really healthy bar, the majority of ingredients are available on our doorstep here in South Africa, thus reducing the carbon footprint associated with the making of these bars. Plus, they taste so much better than those off a shop shelf.We thought we’d let you know… While we have your attention, take a look at Gorillaxtreme…and you’ll know why we were looking for a dynamic bar with plenty of flavour and energy.

  17. christina says:

    Dear Meg,

    I’ve tried this recipe, the taste is absolutely great. but i found it difficult to coat all those dry ingredients with such a small amount of caramel. Or have i did a wrong convertion? i’m using metrics measurement instead of US.
    i’ve also substitute pecan with walnuts. i’ve omitted flax seeds.

    christina tan

    • Meg says:

      Christina, I have never converted the recipe to metrics so I am unsure of what the exact conversions would be. However, you should be able to coat all of the ingredients lightly with the amount of maple sauce that is listed in the recipe. Your cereal mixture should be completely coated, but not wet if that makes sense. I always play around with substituting the nuts and seeds so that should be fine. Hope this helps!

  18. Beth says:

    I hate to leave a negative review, because I really wanted to like this recipe, but… if I ever make these again, I am definitely cutting the sugar by about half. I like granola that’s a little sweet, and I get that it needs a certain amount of caramel and honey to get the ingredients to stick together, but the sticky sweetness of these bars is completely overpowering. The taste is more reminiscent of a dessert treat (like peanut brittle, only with pecans) than a breakfast food. It’s way sweeter than anything I’ve bought at the store. I can’t even eat a whole bar in one sitting. I feel bad saying so, but I really think someone needed to say something about reducing the sugar content. I bet they’d be really good if they were less sweet. The idea of of using pine nuts certainly sounds delicious (I used sunflower seeds instead).

    • Meg says:

      You are more than welcome to have your own opinion about the bars and your own personal sugar level. I certainly wouldn’t have thought this was a “negative review” until you called it one. Simply make it with less sugar and you will be happy. I happen to have a bit of a sweet tooth so it is perfect for me and my family. For me personally peanut brittle is too sweet and since I have a sweet tooth that is saying a lot. Maybe you are simply more of a savory person and that is OK. We are all different, it keeps it interesting.

      • Beth says:

        Glad I didn’t come across as too negative. It was my first time making granola bars, so I had no idea how they’d turn out, and thought nothing of the sugar content while I was making them. I do like sweet things, just not so much in the morning. I had to bring this up in case anyone reading this feels the same and might appreciate a “heads up.” I’ll try tweaking this recipe a bit and see how it goes next time. By the way, I gave some to my best friend and my sister. My sister agreed that they were too sweet, but my friend really liked them! She suggested making them with dried cherries, almonds and maybe even chocolate chips. Yum! :-)

  19. Martha says:

    These look great, I can’t wait to make them. What brand of puffed rice do you use? The link in the recipe isn’t working.

  20. Felicia says:

    Hi There.

    I was wondering if you think these would work if you sub ALL cereal, for the oats? Sadly Im “that Celiac” who cant even eat “GF” oats…. Recipes like this make me sad with envy. : /

    Also, do you know/think that coconut sugar may work in place of the regular brown?

    • Meg says:

      Felicia, I haven’t tried it that way, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work! Maybe you could even add in puffed millet cereal in place of the oats to add a little different texture. I have never tried coconut sugar in the bars either, I think it would work though:)

  21. Vv says:

    Hello!, first time I comment on your wonderful blog, I have a quick question on this simple recipe though. Is it possible to replace the butter for coconut oil? Because where I live is rather impossible to find vegan butter. And also, does it need to be solidified or melted? I look forward to your quick response. Have a great one! Greetings from Dominican Rep. ^^

    • Meg says:

      Hi!! Thanks for taking the time to comment:) I have never personally tried to use coconut oil in these, but I think it may just work. Do you have access to coconut butter? It might work better actually. The oil will need to be melted. I hope it works out and they taste great!

  22. Katie C says:

    I am so happy that I found this receipe! I must have stood in the granola bar isle for 20 minutes earlier this week checking out all of the options before I finally gave up. These are just what I was looking for! I hope they taste as good as they sound.
    Do you have any nutritional information on the bars?

  23. Elie says:

    Awesome! I replaced the brown sugar with 1/3 cup of real maple syrup and I didn’t have any dried cranberries so I used dried cherries. I also didn’t have any pine nuts so I used sunflower seeds with the pecans, used milled flax seed (didn’t have whole), and I added some hemp seed. They came out so good! I melted a bar of 86% dark chocolate and drizzled it all over the top.

  24. Cat says:

    Hi Meg,
    I’m interested in making it for me boyfriend who never eats breakfast, but here’s my problem: we live in different time zones, so I’m very concerned about the shelf life of these bars. Do you think they’ll last if I wrap them with plastic, and mail them in around Christmas when the temp is a little colder…?

    • Meg says:

      Hey Cat, Great question. Ok, so it really depends on how long you are shipping them for. A simple overnight or even 2-day shipping in the colder months should be fine.

  25. Rachel says:

    Holy breakfast, Batman. THESE ARE DELICIOUS!!! :) I have been needing a quick eating snack for at work, I am an LMT and have to keep energy up! I made a batch this morning. We didn’t have some of the things, so I used raw almonds, raw sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and ground flax instead of flax seeds. They turned out absolutely amazing! A very versatile recipe :) Thank you so much!!

  26. Stacey says:

    I made these for my husband whom I fight with regularly over him not eating breakfast and you’re absolutely spot on about them being the “crack” equivalent of Breakfast Bars, he is amazed at how much better his morning workouts have become, go figure. I package them individually in small 3X5 inch ziplock bags and store in an airtight cookie jar. I am making so many now that I buy my ingredients at the Bulk Foods store. I have made a few variatons such as adding mini chocolate chips, I’ve melted and spread dark chocolate on the top, I’ve added honey roasted sunflower seed in place of the pine nuts, and am going to try adding peanut butter to the mix today. Thank you

    • Meg says:

      Yay Stacey!!! I am so glad that you and our husband love these as much as we do. I love the idea of adding dark chocolate and the peanut butter sounds killer too!

  27. Greg says:

    I’ve tried to make these 3 times now and they won’t stick together. I’ve even tried refrigerating them and baking them but nothing will work. Any suggestions?

    • Meg says:

      Greg when you make the bars and place them in the baking dish are you applying enough pressure to compact everything together as tightly as possible so that all of the air is pushed out? I sometimes have even used the bottom of a glass on top of the parchment to make sure I compact the ingredients together as much as possible.

      • Greg says:

        Thanks Meg, sorry for the delay. Yes I’ve been pressing pretty hard. First few times I made them it worked and they were great, then I tried doubling up on the recipe to make more but ever since them it doesn’t seem to stick. I’ll try again next week and let you know!

  28. Carrie says:

    Hi Meg, love love love your rise & shine bars, do you now how many cals are in the bars ???

  29. Jean says:

    I stumbled upon your recipe, looking for a granola bar recipe without eggs (and butter), and that contained the ingredients I had at home. This one sounded simple enough and delicious. They turned out great: chewy with great flavor. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Lauren says:

    Hi there. This is a fabulous recipe thank you! I made them but I substituted the brown sugar for coconut sugar and the butter for coconut oil and they turned out so well. Will definitely be making loads more….

    • Meg says:

      Lauren coconut sugar and coconut oil sound like a great combination for this bar!! I can’t wait to try that version myself, thank you for sharing!

  31. Rae says:

    I use an empty frosting container to firmly pack the bars into the pan…no sticking and fits into the corners great.

  32. Pepe Reynoso says:

    Hello Meg, i did the recipe and the mix stuck to the paper, it became really messy. I spread some canola oil on the paper, it was that?


    • Meg says:

      Can you clarify if it stuck to the paper on the bottom of the pan or the top? I do not grease the parchment when I make these bars, so I imagine that is the problem. The paper will peel away from the bars wen you remove them from the pan if you do not use oil.

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