KIND Bars are the snack bar that I always reach for when I really want a candy bar but don't want the resulting sugar crash. Full of nuts and seeds held together with a sweet-sticky glue of brown rice syrup, these bars are sweet, crunchy, a little salty, and sometimes gilded in chocolate. They are totally crave-worthy in their own right!
But KIND Bars are kind of budget-busting when I've got five dinners, seven breakfasts, and seven lunches to shop for my family of four. So I set to work making these snack bars at home. Yes, there are some specialty ingredients that are an up-front investment, but there's still a huge cost savings.
What Is a KIND Bar, and Why Should I Make It?
KIND Bars are a nut- and seed-based snack bar akin to Lara Bars, Clif, or RX Bars, with the primary distinction that KIND Bar's nuts and fruit are kept mostly whole instead of puréed. They are gluten-free, vegan, and low in sugar, while still being crunchy and sweet. This style of snack bar is wonderful for keeping in your bag or desk for that 3 p.m. slump or just as a healthy-ish treat.
For Your Information
- This recipe calls for brown rice syrup — you can usually find this at a health food store or order it online.
- The bars bake for 18 to 20 minutes at 325°F.
- Make sure you've got parchment paper on hand for making these sticky bars.
Homemade KIND Bars, Cheaper than Store-Bought
So, you scroll to the ingredient list and see whole nuts like almonds and walnuts ($), puffed rice and sesame seeds (also $) and then brown rice syrup ($$$) and you might be tempted to just open a new tab and order some KIND Bars in bulk from Amazon. Don't, and here's why: We ran a cost analysis using the prices of the ingredients versus KIND Bars at the grocery store and Amazon.
Our bar = $0.89 each
KIND Bars at the grocery store = $1.79; in bulk on Amazon = $1.22 a bar
Of course, we tallied up these totals based on the price of each ingredient per recipe, but we promise that once you make the first batch you'll want to make another one, and you'll already have the ingredients to do so.
Keys to Awesome KIND Bars
These nut snack bars are held together by brown rice syrup, which is baked to set the bars and gives the nuts an almost candy-like coating, with some slight give. Here are the keys steps for that signature KIND Bar texture.
- Toast the nuts. Buy raw nuts and toast them yourself. Not only will the leftover nuts last longer, but the warm nuts help the brown rice syrup soften and coat the bars.
- Heat the brown rice syrup for better distribution. Brown rice syrup is thicker and stickier than honey or molasses, making it a real pain to pour out of the jar. Heating it for just 30 seconds in the microwave will make it easier to measure and give a more even coating to the nuts.
- Cool the bars in the pan. Once the bars are baked, cool them in the pan for at least 30 minutes before removing. Then cool completely — this can take a few hours — before slicing.
- Use a sharp, oiled knife to cut the bars. These bars are so sticky! Make sure you use a sharp knife and lightly coat it with nonstick spray before cutting.
- Chocolate dip, optional. Who are we kidding? Chocolate is never optional!
How to Store and Transport Your KIND Bars
Once the chocolate has set on your KIND bars, you want to move them to longer-term storage. The bars are sticky, so parchment paper is best for wrapping individually. These bars keep best stored in the fridge or freezer, but they can be left unrefrigerated for about four days, at which point they become a bit softer but are still fine to eat.
So the next time you're wishing you had a snack bar, chock-full of nuts, dipped in chocolate, and made entirely from scratch, you know exactly how to do it. It's nice, right?
How To Make Homemade Copycat KIND Bars
What You Need
For the bars:
1 1/2 cups whole unsalted almonds (7 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup unsalted walnuts (2 ounces)
3/4 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts (3 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup puffed rice or millet
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon chia seeds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
For the chocolate drizzle: (optional)
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
2 teaspoons coconut oil
8x8-inch baking pan
Rimmed baking sheet
Wide, shallow bowl
Small zip-top bag
- Heat the oven and prepare the baking pan. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 325°F. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper that hangs over the pan on 2 sides to form a sling. Coat the pan and a large bowl with cooking spray.
- Toast the almonds and walnuts. Place the almonds and walnuts in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast until lightly browned and fragrant, 8 to 10 minutes. Coarsely chop the toasted nuts while still warm. Transfer to the greased bowl.
- Mix the nuts, seeds, and flavoring. Add the peanuts, puffed rice or millet, flaxseed meal, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and vanilla. Stir with a silicone spatula to combine.
- Heat the syrup. Warm the brown rice syrup in the microwave in a microwave-safe bowl for 30 seconds to make it easier to pour.
- Pour the syrup over the nut mixture and stir. Immediately pour the warm syrup over the nut mixture and stir until the nuts and seeds are evenly coated.
- Transfer the nut mixture to baking pan. Scrape the nut mixture into the prepared pan. Press into an even and compact layer with the spatula. Sprinkle the salt over the top.
- Bake the bars. Bake until the bars are dry and lightly toasted, 18 to 20 minutes.
- Partially cool the bars in the pan. Place the pan on a cooling rack and cool the bars in the pan until they are pliable and can be lifted out of the pan with the parchment sling without breaking apart, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Cut the bars. Lift the slab out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Spray a large knife with cooking spray and cut the slab into 10 (1 1/2 by 3 1/2-inch) bars. Do not move the bars once they have been cut, just leave them on the cutting board to cool completely. It may take several hours for the bars to set up completely. You'll know they are ready when you can lift a bar without having it break or fall apart in your hand.
- Melt the chocolate and coconut oil. Once the bars have cooled and set, combine the chocolate and coconut oil in a shallow, wide, microwave-safe bowl, such as a cereal bowl. Microwave on HIGH until melted, 30 to 60 seconds, stirring halfway through.
- Dip the bars and drizzle with chocolate. Place a sheet of parchment paper on a work surface. Dip the bottom of each bar in the chocolate and place on parchment. Transfer remaining chocolate into a small zip-top bag. Snip the corner of the bag and drizzle the chocolate over the top of the bars. Refrigerate the bars for about 15 minutes to set the chocolate.
- Store the bars between parchment in an airtight container. Transfer the bars to an airtight container, dividing each layer with a piece of parchment to keep the bars from sticking together. Bars can also be wrapped individually in parchment paper for easy transport.
- Storage: Store at room temperature for 4 days, refrigerate for 2 weeks, or freeze for up to 3 months.