I am a granola bar fan, but I don’t like the hard crunchy ones – I like ones I can actually chew! Before I was gluten-free, I used to make some fantastic granola bars and I wanted to see if I could re-imagine them in a gluten-free version. I came into work this morning with that idea, and made it up as I went along. Not only was I incredibly happy that they actually held together, but they didn’t taste gluten-free at all, and that is always the end result I am looking for when converting or creating recipes.
I got to use some of my favorite ingredients as well – Bellewood Acres Peanut Butter**(see below), OG dark chocolate chips, OG roasted almonds and Bob’s Gluten-Free oats (which I haven’t had since making the switch to a GF diet – oh, how I have missed them!). Speaking of Bob’s, they are now an employee-owned company – kudos to them! This is a great recipe because you can add your favorite “extras” – I added OG Thompson Raisins, the chocolate chips and roasted almonds because those are mine, but dried cranberries would be great, as well as cashews or peanuts. If you are not a chocolate lover, you can add carob chips as well. I also used Nature’s Path Crispy Rice cereal – they are a local company (their facility is actually on the same street in Blaine that my dad lives on!) and produce great gluten-free products.
This is also a fun recipe to make if you have kids – no knives are involved so they can really dig in and help with the preparation and they are also pretty healthy – they contain whole grains and have no white sugar!
Customers loved the samples – I even had a (ex) professional granola maker commend the recipe! I love to see people get excited about cooking – it is the ultimate way to personalize, and the most tasty! More and more people are learning to cook because of economic circumstances, and I strongly feel that they will be more healthy and happy in the long run. If your children see you cooking, and participate, then they will most likely turn into cooks themselves and will lead a more healthy lifestyle. Cooking has great side effects as well – you become more involved with your food so your relationship changes with it (and you and your family become healthier), it can teach you fractions (ever tried to cut a recipe in half?), and if you are really into it you can make it very scientific!
Anyway, enjoy the granola bars – I know I did!
Gluten-Free Nutty Granola Bars
1/4 c packed brown sugar (I prefer dark)
1/4 c maple syrup
1/4 c honey
3 T (heaping) peanut butter
1 egg white (or equivalent egg replacer)
1 t pure vanilla extract
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t ground cinnamon
2 c GF oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 1/2 c GF crispy rice cereal
1/3 c dark chocolate chips (“good” for you because of the antioxidants! No other excuse needed)
1/2 c dried fruit and nuts of your choice
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, peanut butter, egg white and vanilla extract in a large bowl with rubber spatula.
3. Whisk flour, baking soda and cinnamon in small bowl. Add to sugar mixture.
4. Add oats and rice cereal and stir to combine. Add chocolate chips and any nuts/dried fruit and stir to combine
5. Coat hands with oil and press into 13in.x9in. baking dish coated with cooking spray.
6. Bake for 15-17 minutes (remove when they look set). Score surface with shallow cuts to make bars.
7. Cool in pan on wire rack. Store in airtight container once cooled, or wrap baking dish in plastic.
Almonds, cashews, peanuts, raisins, dried cranberries, crystallized ginger, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, carob chips
** 3/4/10 – I just found out that Bellewood Acres honey roasted peanut butter is NOT gluten-free. I am exceptionally disappointed, and have contacted them, but it is the peanuts they use, not anything they add to it. Santa Cruz makes a great GF roasted peanut butter – I’m back to my old standby and hope that no one bought the Bellewood PB who is GF – if so, please return it for a full refund!!! (I’ll give you hug too, if you want!)