Two of my kids (usually) won't eat meat. So, in an attempt to get more protein (and healthy fats) into their growing bodies, I found that many paleo and gluten free recipes use a lot of nuts and nut flour. So, thinking that I could fake them out (because one doesn't like nuts either), I bought this cookbook and have been pleasantly surprised at how much my kids like many of her recipes- including breakfast cookies, pumpkin muffins and these bars (all using nuts and/or nut flours). I like her cookbook for another reason- I only had to shop for a few ingredients I didn't have on hand. Her recipes are pretty down to earth compared to many of the alternative-diet recipes out there.
Okay, back to the bars. I've made homemade granola bars in the past and the kids have liked them but they were often too crumbly. These stay together beautifully and don't require heating up the kitchen with the oven. They also remind me of Larabar bars, which I am very fond of. And, my kids prefer these to any store-bought granola bars I've bought in the past. Whoohoo! And, they're very easy to make. All you need is a saucepan, a food processor and your 9 x 13 inch pan.
So, here you go...enjoy!!
"Granola" Bars (No Bake and Gluten Free, adapted from this cookbook)
This recipe makes a 9 x 13 pan of bars. Servings will depend on how large or small you cut them.
not quite 1/2 cup honey (you may find this too sweet and cut back a little more on your next batch)
1/2 cup peanut butter (I use natural peanut butter- you could also use almond butter)
2 tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups nuts (any combination of almonds, pecans, cashews, macadamia nuts)
5 large dates (if you don't have/want to buy dates, simply up the dried fruits below a bit)
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened (or sweetened) coconut
1/3 cup raisins, dried cherries or dried cranberries or a combination
1/4-1/2 cup chocolate chips
In a small saucepan, combine honey, peanut butter, coconut oil and vanilla. Heat to medium high heat and stir until melted all together. Turn heat to low and let sit on heat, stirring occasionally, while you continue with the recipe.
In your food processor, place the remaining ingredients except for the chocolate chips and pulse until everything is chopped up fine and well-combined. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the food processor and pulse until blended. Add the chocolate chips and pulse again.
Line a 9 x 13-inch pan with parchment paper. Transfer the nut mixture to the pan and press out as best you can with the back of a spoon. Next, place a sheet of plastic-wrap over the bars and press the mixture out evenly. Remove the plastic wrap and place the bars in the freezer for 1 hour (set your timer or you may forget)! Remove from the freezer and lift out the bars and parchment paper together, setting them on a cutting board. Cut the bars to the desired size/shape and place them in an air tight container, separating the layers with wax or parchment paper, refrigerate and TRY to keep everyone from eating them all that very day. :-)