Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Grain-Free Granola Bars

I spent a good part of Saturday cooking.  Being on any kind of special diet or healthy diet, really, requires preparation.  Most healthy foods are not "convenience" foods.  There are some healthy "convenience" foods, but I am sure I can make many much cheaper. 

Granola bars are a great quick snack.  Most store bought granola bars are full of sugar.  I came across this recipe (from http://thewholekitchen.wordpress.com/) and thought I would give it a try.  I made some adjustments to suit my diet and my laziness (not toasting the nuts) and it came out pretty good.   I processed my "chopped nuts" too much and came out with more of a nut flour with a few chunks.  This is actually a great discovery for me because I have been "afraid" to make my own almond meal.  The texture of my granola bars was more of a soft bar cookie. 

Because of needing to be low sugar I cut back the 1/2 cup dried fruit to 1/4 cup.  Next time I make this I will try to cut back the dates as well and maybe add a little more water or maybe something like applesauce. 

Grain Free Granola Bars

1 1/3 cup coarsely chopped nuts
2/3 cup natural peanut butter
3 oz. dates, chopped roughly
1/2  tsp. salt
3-4 T water
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
wax/parchment papper

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coarsely chop the nuts in a food processor (chop the almonds separately from the rest of the nuts, as they are much harder than the others). Place the coconut and chopped fruit, and chopped nuts in a mixing bowl, stir together and set aside. Schoop the peanut butter, chopped dates and water into a small sauce pan and heat the mixture on a low burner, stirring as you go. As the peanut butter warms, it may seize up a bit – add a touch more water. You just want the mixture to be warm, not hot, so that you can stir the mixture together.
  2. Pour the peanut butter mixture on top of the nuts, and use a stiff spatula to fold the mixture together until all the ingredients are coated in peanut butter. Line the sheet pan with parchment, then dump the sticky mixture onto the parchment. Cover with another sheet of wax paper and press into an even layer about 1/2″ thick. Remove the top layer of wax paper.  Place the bars into the oven, and bake for 20-25 minutes to set the bars, then chill in the fridge for a couple of hours before cutting. Store the finished bars in a storage container in the fridge, with waxed paper between layers.
I will be using this recipe in the future.  I think it is a good base for bars and cookies.  Enjoy!

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