I'm always looking for quick, healthy snacks and breakfasts that I can eat and run, chasing after two small kids as I do each morning! Granola bars seem like the perfect solution, but are off-limits for the gluten-free set. Most contain forbidden grains, or at least oats which are not certified gluten-free.
I decided to be deprived no longer and invented my own, packed with deliciousness and nutrition in every gluten-free bite! These are great bars for everyone, as they are easily modifiable to fit nearly any diet. In addition to being gluten-free, they are also egg and dairy-free and vegan. I've even offered alternatives below for low-glycemic, oat-free and nut-free diets. Feel free to substitute what you have on hand and to your tastes. Adding more dried fruits will increase the sugars, so if you are watching your sugar intake, simply reduce the fruit content and be sure not to use any dried fruits with added sugars, like cranberries.
Enjoy this healthy treat!
Gluten-Free Granola Bars
3 cups gluten-free rolled oats or rice flakes (Shiloh Farms)
1 cup Jules' Nearly Normal All Purpose Flour* or certified gluten-free oat flour
¼ cup flax seeds (pulverized) or flax seed meal
1 tablespoon. cinnamon
½ cup chopped dried apples
½ cup chopped dried bananas
¼ cup chopped dates
3/4 cup raisins, boiled (see directions below)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
½ cup chopped figs
½ cup agave nectar, honey or maple syrup
¼ cup sunflower nut butter or “natural” peanut, almond or cashew butter
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup unsweetened apple juice or cider
*My all purpose flour may be made athome according to directions found in my books, Nearly NormalCooking for Gluten-Free Eating and The First Year: CeliacDisease and Living Gluten-Free, as well as in various media linkson my website. It may also be purchased pre-mixed from my website.
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Line a jelly roll baking pan withaluminum foil (preferably the “release” kind)
Blend the flax seeds (if using seedsinstead of flax seed meal) in a food processor or blender until fine.
In a large mixing bowl, stir togetherthis flax seed meal, the 1 cup Jules' Nearly Normal All Purpose Flour,the 3 cups of oats, cinnamon, and fruits and nuts of your choice (insimilar proportions to those listed above). When fully combined,stir in the agave nectar, applesauce, nut butter and juice, mixingwith a large wooden spoon until totally incorporated. The mixtureshould be wet enough to press together for baking.
Pack the mixture into the bottom of theprepared baking pan and press down with the back of a rubber spatulaor large wooden spoon. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges beginto brown slightly.
Remove from oven and cut into barsbefore cooled. Once fully cooled, remove from pan by lifting thefoil edges out and gently removing all the bars while still on top ofthe foil.
Makes approximately 21 bars, but theywon't last long! My kids even liked these healthy snacks!