If you’ve been searching for the perfect chewy granola bar, here’s a recipe worth saving. It’s adapted from Olivia Dupin’s fabulous cookbook The Complete Guide to Naturally Gluten-Free Foods, which has become one of my favorites as of late. Everything I’ve tried so far has been fantastic, and the book is an interesting read.
Subtitled “Your Starter Manual to Going G-Free the Easy, No-Fuss Way”, this book lives up to its promise. It’s a “manual” in that it includes basic information on auto-immune diseases and wheat allergies, how to get tested, adapting to the gluten-free lifestyle and feeding gluten-free kids; but it’s also very personal. Olivia opens with her story of being diagnosed as a celiac, how it affected her body, and how she dealt with it emotionally and professionally. I kind of expected she’d launch into how she immediately changed her diet and everything was perfect, but she gave an honest account of what happened when she cheated, and what it took to really change. In short, she is easy to relate to and I think this book would be perfect for anyone starting a wheat free diet or cooking for someone who needs to.
Now back to the bars! I chose this recipe with the intent of using up some rice cereal, and while I did achieve that goal, I ended up at the bulk bin at H.E.B. buying more ingredients. There’s a lot going on these bars, but the time it takes you to collect all the nuts and fruits (again — bulk bin!) is totally worth it. Held together mainly by honey, the honey flavor does come through, but you also taste the nuts, dried fruit and sesame, so you might like these even if you’re not totally in love with honey.
- 1 1⁄2 cups (40 g) crispy brown rice cereal (e.g. gluten free Rice Krispies)
- 1⁄2 cup (75 g) whole cashews
- 1⁄2 cup (70 g) whole almonds (I used roasted)
- 1⁄2 cup (75 g) roasted shelled pistachios
- 1⁄2 cup (50 g) whole pecans or walnuts
- 1 cup (135 g) mixture of dried fruits (I used dried cranberries, apricots, cherries)
- 1⁄4 cup (36 g) sesame seeds
- 1⁄4 cup (28 g) flaxseed meal
- 1⁄4 cup (20 g) flaked coconut
- 1⁄2 cup (170 g) honey
- 1⁄4 cup (60 g) firmly packed brown sugar
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons (16 g) cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 300°F . Line a 9 inch square metal pan with parchment paper. If making a half batch, use a 9x5 inch loaf pan instead.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the cereal, cashews, almonds, pistachios, pecans, dried fruit, sesame seeds, flaxseed meal, and flaked coconut. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the honey, brown sugar, salt, and cornstarch. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients and toss until evenly coated.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Use another piece of parchment paper to press down the mixture so that it is flat and evenly distributed to the corners of the pan. Remove top layer of parchment and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan for several hours.
- Turn the mixture out onto a cutting board, peeling away the parchment paper on the bottom. Using a serrated knife, cut into 16 squares. Store in a zipper-top bag or an airtight container at room temperature for about a week.