Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grain Free "Granola" Bars

Even to this day one of my most beloved highly processed lunch food is a granola bar. I LOVED the granola bars covered in a layer of chocolate and full of chocolate chips and sweetness.. MMMmm Those are still yummy. But it is near impossible to find granola bars that are delicious and organic, gluten, and sugar free and that dont have chemicals or dyes. It never fails... if they don't have wheat, the have Corn Syrup. And that's pretty much the worse thing in this entire world for you.

Before Christmas I was making granola bars out of oatmeal and though they were dear to my heart and delicious they were VERY filling and and full of carbs. If I am going to have a healthy grain free snack oatmeal is a nono.
I searched my favorite recipe blogs looking for granola bar recipes. Of course I found them, but I made 4 different recipes. 1 was not sweet enough and was too wet in the middle. 2 looked very promising but when I cut them into bars they became granola. 3 was soft and was more like a cookie. 4. was my combination of all 3 of them. I was able to decide which I loved and didn't love and make the perfect granola bar.
Not only was number 4 the best but its better for you as it doesn't use oatmeal or grains. Though my great love affair with the chocolate coating had to be given up I was able to chop up some bakers bars and toss them in. Delicious!!
These are great because they are grain free and though they are preservative free I find they last easily a couple weeks in the fridge wrappers in plastic or parchment. 
You could definitely throw them in the freezer as 1 batch does make quite a few.

On a side note.....The other day I was making some fruit leather for Hubby as we had a huge bag of grapes all getting squishy at the same time so I had this thought that a delicious puree of grapes and other ingredients would be great as a leather.
I gave it to him on his way to work one morning and he didn't even try it that day. Just too busy (or so he says) LOL so the next day he tried it after I cried and was sad that I did all of that work for him to just ignore it. Haha what a sucker. He ate half the bag!!! I guess it was delicious! I still don't know how good it was because he hasn't even given me a piece!!!
Anyways, after I made the fruit leather I decided to make my cracker recipe and pop it onto the dehydrator to see how they come out. The only negative I had was the cracker took 4-5 hours to be crispy. But they are too die for. The crispy snap you would expect from a cracker but without any of the fuss of having to bake them forever and turn them  constantly and I didn't have to worry about them burning.
They are fantastic and I will be posting about my few changes made to the recipe as some pictures of my famous cheese ball and my crackers yum.

.... Back to the granola bars, I was thinking that dehydrating the granola bars would make them just as fantastic and crunchy as my big bucket of granola that I made. So I will be trying this in the future. If you have a dehydrator and want to try it and let me know please do.. otherwise just follow the recipe and munch!

Grain Free, Sugar Free, Gluten Free - "Mock" Granola Bars

I cant quite call these granola bars as they lack all of the traditional ingredients of granola.

2.5 cups of chopped or minced nuts and seeds
  • any combination of seeds is fine. I used:
    1 C Blanched almond slices
    1/2C Raw chopped walnuts
    1/4 C Pumpkin seeds
    1/4 C Sunflower seeds
    2 T unroasted sesame seeds
    2 T Hulled raw hemp seeds
    2 T Poppy seeds
    2 T Chia seeds
1 C dried fruit chopped or minced
  • any low glycemic fruit is recomended, I used:
    1/2 C golden unsweetened raisins without additives or dextrose
    1/2  dried cranberries without dextrose, color or flavorings
2 C unsweetened organic dried coconut shredded or flaked
1/4 C chopped unsweetened bakers chocolate
1/4 C melted clarified butter/ coconut oil
1/4 C palm sugar/Splenda/brown sugar sucralose blend
1/4 C raw agave nectar/palm syrup/date syrup**
1/4 C flaxmeal or 2 T ground chia meal
2 eggs
Filtered water

You can hand chop the dried fruit and nuts or you can cheat like me and beat them from whole in a food processor till roughly chopped or 5-7 seconds.
Place chopped nuts, dried fruit, coconut and chocolate in a large mixing bowl mix well.
Mix wet ingredients together and stir in flax meal and palm sugar. Let stand for 3 min.
Pour wet into dry and mix very well. Add just enough water to mixture that everything is moist and sticky. Adding too much water will cause your bars to be chewy and very soft and possibly not stick together well.
In a 9x13 pan line with unbleached parchment paper. Press granola into pan until evenly spread and firm. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min until the top is very firm.

Let cool completely prior to cutting as if they are still warm they will fall apart. Wrap individually and place in fridge. yum.

** recipes for palm and date syrup can be found on my blog here. **

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