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Annie’s Homegrown Chewy Gluten Free Granola Bars Oatmeal Cookie — 5 Bars Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’re not a robot. For best results, please make sure your browser is accepting cookies. Type the characters you see in this image: Try different image Continue shopping Conditions of […]
If you’ve ever wondered how you make homemade granola bars, this master granola bar recipe is for you. Make them chewy, crunchy or even no bake.
This is a comprehensive look at how to make granola bars of every type. If you’d like to skip to the bottom line, and then bookmark it for later use, scroll down to the bottom for the recipe! For everyone else, let’s talk granola bar recipes!
I make homemade granola bars every month of the year. But when it’s back-to-school time, I kick it into high gear. They’re perfect for breakfast, popping into lunch boxes (I have plenty of nut-free varieties), and just grabbing when we’re running out the door to practice, a game or an urgent I-need-a-special-pen-for-chemistry emergency.
My kids’ favorite granola bar varieties are the kinds that have the most sugar. Crispy and crunchy or soft and chewy, they might have some preferences around the edges. But I know they’re mostly in it for the sweet stuff.
I’ve published so many granola recipes, for the loose stuff and for the bars, over the years that I’ve got it down to a science. Actually, it’s one area of baking where you don’t need a super-strict formula, so I guess it’s more art than science.
When I make granola bars, I find that there are broad categories of ingredients that are largely interchangeable. So I thought I would share my granola bar philosophy with you, if you’re interested. Let’s get to it!
The Mix Ins
If you take a look at the photo above, you’ll find the biggest category of granola ingredients, by far: the mix-ins. All of these ingredients are raw (whenever possible) and unsalted. That way, we can flavor them to our liking.
From the top left in rows from left to right, you’ll find:
roughly chopped raw almonds
roughly chopped raw cashews (buy cashew pieces, though! cheaper and easier)
slivered raw almonds
small, dried fruit (like raisins, dried blueberries, chopped dried prunes or apricots)
coconut flakes (I only use flakes in granola and granola bars, not shredded coconut, which tastes like dental floss in granola)
But you should use your imagination! In no-bake granola bars, since you won’t be baking any of these raw nuts and seeds, you can toast them first. I like to toast nuts and seeds either on a baking sheet in a 300°F oven until fragrant or in a cast iron pan until fragrant.
In crunchy granola bars, raw nuts are first ground into flour before baking with them. It’s amazingly useful in creating a crunchy bar that has the protein and fats of nuts without the pieces.
If there’s a way to make granola bars without sugar, I don’t know what it is. Sugar performs tons of important functions in granola bars. At the top of the list is that it holds the bars together when it’s heated. And, of course, it adds sweetness and even some depth (depending upon the sugar).
You can use refined and/or unrefined sugars in granola and granola bars. The more important distinction for baking success comes from whether you’re using liquid or granulated sugars.
Clockwise from the top left in the photo above, you’ll find these sugars:
Finely ground coconut palm sugar (ground finer in a food processor or blender) (unrefined)
(Normal) coconut palm sugar (a darker color, and a much more coarse grind) (unrefined)
Light brown sugar (refined)
Pure maple syrup (unrefined)
Unsulphured molasses (refined)
Honey (unrefined, but not raw)
White granulated sugar (the most refined!)
Whenever possible, I use unrefined sugars in granola and granola bars. I feel better about giving them to my children as they have some nutrients and tend to be more satisfying. Plus, they have much more depth of flavor than highly refined sugars like white granulated sugar. And brown sugar is simply white granulated sugar with molasses added to it anyway.
Plus, they have much more depth of flavor than highly refined sugars like white granulated sugar. And brown sugar is simply white granulated sugar with molasses added to it anyway.
The granulated sugars are largely interchangeable in granola and granola bar recipes, and the liquid sugars like molasses, honey and maple syrup are as well. Honey is much thicker than maple syrup, though, and therefore stickier and more useful in holding bars together. Molasses is best used in moderation as it has a very strong flavor.
The most important thing to realize about these sugars is that, to hold granola bars together, the sugars must be heated. In bars that are baked in the oven, that’s how they’re heated. For no bake bars, you must cook the sugars on the stovetop before they do their work in the bars.
Fats and Aromatics
Forgive the tortured category of fats and aromatics, which doesn’t quite do this category justice. But I didn’t want the list of categories to be too long, so I went for it.
To make granola and granola bars, you need some fat. Fat is an indispensable flavor delivery system. Plus, it’s responsible for helping the other ingredients to brown without burning when they’re baked. And when it becomes firm again in the refrigerator or at room temperature (for some fats), it helps hold the bars together.
Pictured in the photo on the left above, clockwise from the left, are sunflower oil (any neutral oil will do), virgin coconut oil (clearly the healthiest of the bunch) and unsalted butter. Any fat that’s solid or semi-solid at room temperature will need to be melted to use in granola bar creation.
When I refer to aromatics, I’m talking about salt (which brings out other flavors, including sweetness), vanilla extract, and warm spices like ground cinnamon, nutmeg, even cloves or allspice if you like. For the most part, these ingredients are added to taste.
Then there’s the humble egg. I like to use an egg in chewy granola bars as it really helps with texture and to hold the softer bars together.
These are the ingredients that take up space in your granola bars. They don’t generally have a ton of crunch, and they’re mostly just, well, one form of oats or another.
First of all, if you’re in the U.S. and you’re gluten free, and wondering if oats are gluten free, well, they are. Now, with that out of the way, it’s very hard to make granola of any kind without oats. You can make Paleo granola, which is loose and not formed into bars, without oats and it’s quite lovely. Bars are another story.
I don’t ever buy quick-cooking oats or oat flour. I just buy certified gluten free (since my family eats gluten free—if you’re not gluten free, buy any oats you like!) old fashioned rolled oats, and process them in a blender or food processor. I process them by about half (in quick bursts) for “quick-cooking oats,” and completely for oat flour.
In the photo above, you’ll find (from the top), old fashioned rolled oats, quick-cooking oats and oat flour. They all started out in my kitchen as old fashioned rolled oats. It makes everything easier, and I never need oat flour to be completely smooth. I expect anything with oats to have some chew.
You can try making granola bars completely without oats (the crunchy granola bar recipe seems like the best candidate). Maybe try replacing the oats with quinoa flakes, for example. But they aren’t very bulky, or very chewy. They tend to “melt” into whatever they are baked with. It’s worth a shot, though!
Puffed Rice Cereal
The final ingredient in this category of “bulk” is crisp rice cereal. I like to buy puffed rice that has two ingredients: rice and salt. If you’re gluten free like we are, I like Nature’s Path Organic brand and Erewhon puffed rice cereals.
You can actually buy salt-free puffed rice cereal and that works, too. But if you ever want to eat some in a bowl with maybe some fruit and milk, be sure to use the type that has a bit of salt.
If you’d like to replace the rice cereal with another crispy, dry cereal, hopefully, you have a better imagination than I do! I can’t think of another cereal that has the same size and pop (snap! crackle!).
Chewy Granola Bars
I’m not going to sugar-coat it. Chewy granola bars are made with tons of sugar. (See what I did there?)
The way to keep them soft and chewy? Lots of different kinds of sugars. They’re so incredibly delicious, and they taste much like the store-bought kind of granola bar.
Think of it like eating out at a restaurant. The food often tastes extra delicious for a few reasons. Not only did someone else make it for you(score!), but you’ll find tons more salt, fat and maybe sugar in the food than you generally use at home.
These granola bars are so, so good. But so, so bad. You can make them more virtuous by using unrefined granulated sugar like coconut palm sugar, and unrefined liquid sugars like honey and maple syrup. But sugar is sugar.
Crunchy Granola Bars
Crunchy granola bars are the easiest to make lower in sugar. Sugar is a tenderizer, and crunchy granola bars aren’t, well, tender. They’re crunchy! These are my personal favorite type of bar.
I love the combination of oats and puffed rice cereal (the cereal really helps them get and stay crunchy), and I love the relatively low sugar content. You can really taste the other ingredients. The nuts are finely ground, but you can make them yourself. You don’t need to buy already ground nut flours.
No Bake Granola Bars
My oldest calls these no bake granola bars the “ones that taste great but are bad for you.” And she’s right. We don’t have to use a candy thermomter and be all precise about it. But to make no-bake granola bars, we cook the sugars until they start to reach a “softball stage,” and then we mix them into the dry ingredients.
I don’t generally make these with any nuts at all, so they’re a great option for a nut-free school or camp. You can use nuts instead of some of the coconut flakes, if you like. These are very, very versatile. But don’t try to cut back on the sugar.
Another favorite variation on these is to add a bit of chopped chocolate to the cooked sugars as they’re cooling. Mix until smooth and proceed with the recipe. If you’re going for it, go all the way!
We made it! We talked ingredients and theory, and I loved every minute. What can I say? I’m a wonk.
Anyway, knowledge is power. ⚡️ The more you understand why a recipe calls for one type of ingredient over another, the more you can customize the recipe to your particular tastes and dietary needs. This is the last granola bar recipe you’ll ever need, really. Enjoy!
The richest fudgy gluten free brownies recipe made simply with a very basic rice flour blend, cocoa powder, and melted dark chocolate. A chocolate lover’s dream!
These are seriously fudgy gluten free brownies. They’re not cakey at all, and they’re so packed with chocolate taste and smell that there’s no way you could keep them a secret.
Let’s put it this way—I had them under a dome on a cake plate, each individually wrapped, and you could smell them in the next room when I lifted the dome. Now that’s chocolatey.
At its most basic level, sweet homemade baked goods for home cooks fall into just a few categories: cookies (mostly chocolate chip cookies), cake (vanilla cake, chocolate cake), and brownies. These are the brownies I recommend if you’re looking for that one solid recipe. It’s the kind that you’ll bring to every holiday, every potluck, and basically every other Sunday.
When I think of brownies in general, I think of these—the slab-type brownies that have some weight to them. They’re heavy on chocolate, and they’re perfect for chopping up into squares and sneaking into a lunchbox. Or sprinkling on top of your favorite vanilla ice cream.
You bite into these brownies and your teeth leave tracks. They’re not actually fudge, though. Just as fudgy as a brownie can get, and still be a brownie.
The batter is thick, and the brownies aren’t the kind to rise a whole bunch and then sink. They rise slowly and evenly, and they stay that way. Be sure not to overbake them, or the bottom may burn and the top of the brownies may begin to pull away from the center.
Let’s face it, though. As long as you don’t burn them to a crisp, they’ll still taste pretty darn good! And if you’re looking for tons more gluten free brownies recipes, I’ve got you covered from every angle.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Dairy-Free: Luckily, these are quite easy to make dairy free. And I’ve even tried it! Replace the butter with an equal amount by weight of Earth Balance Buttery Sticks, the cream with nondairy milk (not non-fat!), and just be sure that the chocolate you use is dairy free. Eliminate the salt, too, since Earth Balance is pretty salty already.
Egg-Free: Eggs are always a tricky spot. You can try using two “chia eggs,” but you’ll have to experiment as I haven’t tried that in this recipe. A chia egg is 1 tablespoon ground chia seeds mixed with 1 tablespoon lukewarm water and allowed to gel.
Sugar Substitutes: You might be able to replace the sugars with coconut palm sugar, but I honestly don’t know. I’d probably grind it up a bit, since it is quite coarsely ground and it doesn’t seem to melt in the oven as readily as refined sugar.
You cannot replace the granulated sugars with liquid sugars like honey and maple syrup. If you’re looking for a sugar-free version, try replacing the granulated sugar with Swerve granulated sugar substitute and brown sugar with its Swerve counterpart. They usually work quite well.
Cocoa Powder: If you don’t have Dutch-processed cocoa powder, you can use natural unsweetened cocoa powder, but add 1/8 teaspoon baking soda to neutralize the acid in the natural kind. The brownies won’t be quite as rich.
Gluten Free Flour Blend: This recipe calls for 3/4 cup of my basic gum-free gluten free flour blend, which is a simple mixture of superfine white rice flour, potato starch and tapioca starch/flour. You can use another gum-free blend if you like, but if your rice flour is gritty, your brownies will be gritty. That’s just the way it goes! (You could always make your own superfine white rice flour.)
Push play ▶️ to watch me make these brownies in this short how-to video.
Then, it’s your turn!
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Glutino, Gluten Free, Strawberry Breakfast Bars, 7.05oz (pack of 6) $ 30.99 Enter the characters you see below Sorry, we just need to make sure you’re not a robot. For best results, please make sure your browser is accepting cookies. Type the characters you see in this image: Try different image Continue shopping Conditions of […]
Brown sugar and cinnamon make these gluten free oatmeal bars like the very best oatmeal in a neat little to-go package. Make them ahead for busy weekday mornings!
Way Back When
I started writing this blog in March of 2009. About a month before, and for years before that, I was commuting into Manhattan 3 days a week to my job as a lawyer. Talk about way back when! Since so many people commute through Grand Central Station in midtown Manhattan, there are often happy little greeters handing out samples of food
Since so many people commute through Grand Central Station in midtown Manhattan, there are often happy little greeters handing out samples of packaged food just outside the doors on 42nd Street. Well, on one of my last commutes, those happy greeters were representing Quaker, and they were handing out “Oatmeal To Go” bars. They were these dense and chewy
They were these dense and chewy, lightly sweet bars that tasted like a bowl of the best oatmeal. But they were ready, well, to go when you were. I was hooked.
You know how things just stick in your mind sometimes? Those oatmeal bars were one of those things. If my gluten free son was going to have them, I would have to make them for him at home.
A quick note about oats: it is my position that certified gluten free oats are, indeed, gluten free. We’ve already had that discussion! 😉
When I start getting school supply lists and there’s Halloween candy in the drug store, that means back to school is coming. And that means crazy busy mornings when breakfast-to-go is the Ultimate Prize.
Well, I made my first batch of those bars sometime in 2010. I refined the recipe and a version of it ended up in my fourth book, Gluten Free Classic Snacks as “Quaker Oatmeal To Go, Brown Sugar Cinnamon.”
Well, I’ve done some research, and it turns out that Quaker no longer makes any version of those bars. So it seems that it’s not just We Gluten Free who have to go rogue and make our own oatmeal bars!
Ingredients and Substitutions
Dairy: I’ve adapted this recipe a bit from the way it appeared in my cookbook, and now often use melted virgin coconut oil in place of melted unsalted butter in the bars. That switch, along with a nondairy milk, makes them naturally dairy free. To make the glaze dairy free, just use a nondairy milk, and replace the unsalted butter with Earth Balance buttery sticks.
Eggs: Eggs are always a bit trickier. I haven’t tried this recipe with 2 “chia eggs” in place of regular eggs (a “chia egg” is just 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds mixed with 1 tablespoon of water and allowed to gel). I’m sure the result would be different, but it would probably work.
Sugar: You could try replacing the brown sugar in the bars with an equal amount, by weight, of coconut palm sugar, but you’ll almost certainly need to use more milk in the bars. You could also use Swerve brand brown sugar substitute. I’ve reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe to 3/4 cup, and I like the less-sweet version.
Now click the play ▶️ button below to watch me make these oatmeal bars with my own two hands!
Chewy, fudgy and rich peanut butter brownies are the bar for true peanut butter lovers. The perfect brownie texture, topped with your favorite chips!
I like to think of myself as a purist. If you call them peanut butter brownies, they shouldn’t just be chocolate brownies with, say, a peanut butter swirl. Those would be peanut butter swirl brownies.
These are straight-up peanut butter brownies. Of course, everything starts to break down when I realize that maybe they’re actually blondies, since they’re not, well, brown(ie). Then I’m really just not sure.
But I do know this: they’re perfectly chewy, fudgy and packed with peanut butter flavor. The chocolate chips are up to you, but who doesn’t like peanut butter and chocolate anyway?
Do you ever wonder why a recipe might specify, say, melted butter over room temperature butter? Maybe you thought it was just on a whim. It’s not!
I truly love one bowl recipes (cases in point: one bowl banana bread and one bowl chocolate cake) for their ease and simplicity. But one bowl baking isn’t always appropriate. If you’re looking for a light and airy vanilla cake, one bowl isn’t going to work—and neither is melted butter.
For a light and airy texture, you need to cream room temperature butter with sugar until it’s light and fluffy. That creates air bubbles in the mix, which fill with carbon dioxide during baking.
Melted butter adds richness alone. For chewy and dense brownies, we want richness. You take that first bite of these brownies and the moist crumbs melt in your mouth. Heaven!
Ingredients and Substitutions
If you have other dietary restrictions and you want to make these amazing peanut butter brownies, I want to help as best I can! I don’t have any suggestions for replacing the peanut butter, though, since they’re peanut butter brownies. 🙂
Dairy: The first time I tested this new recipe, I actually used nondairy butter. And I think I even liked it better than the “regular” recipe (!). I used Earth Balance whipped buttery spread (to be exact), melted and cooled. The brownies didn’t burn as easily as they can when you’re baking with butter but tasted exactly the same. So, go for it.
Eggs: There are two eggs in this recipe, and I confess that I haven’t tried using an egg substitute. Two eggs is my upper limit for feeling good about a chia egg replacement. Proceed with caution!
Chocolate Chips: You can leave them out, replace them with another type of chip (peanut butter? white chocolate? dark chocolate?), but don’t add much more than 4 ounces total. It will negatively affect even baking.
Sugar: Swerve brand non-sugar sweeteners make both granulated and brown sugar varieties. Try those!
How To Make Peanut Butter Brownies? Watch this 1 Minute Video!
These Little Debbie gluten free brownies are just as fudgy and chewy as you remember, and they’re made with regular gluten free pantry ingredients. You’ll want to make them immediately!
Just push play ▶️ to see the one minute video how-to that proves just how easy this recipe really is.
Whether you prefer your brownies fudgy or cakey, chewy or more tender, rich in chocolate or a bit lighter, Little Debbie brownies seem to hit that sweet spot for everyone.
These are no ordinary gluten free brownies. Oh no no no. Rich and fudgy, without being overwhelmingly sweet, I think of them like a brownie’s brownie. The kind of brownie a real brownie-eater reaches for. For sure, they could never be mistaken for chocolate cake!
And since I can’t stand the thought of your not having them in your gluten free baking repertoire, especially as the weather warms and brownies are basically a food group at every picnic and barbecue, this recipe from Gluten Free Classic Snacks is on the blog for all to enjoy.
Growing up, I didn’t have a ton of experience with Little Debbies—except for cosmic brownies. Since I was flat out offended by walnuts in brownies, the cosmic brownies were the way to go. Of course, I wouldn’t turn away a fudge brownie since I wasn’t above picking off the walnuts.
I think that the closest thing to the chocolate candies on top of cosmic brownies are those rainbow miniature chips (I think Wilton sells them), but no way those are going to be gluten free. I went with miniature M&Ms, but you could also use Sixlets or even (gasp) walnuts if the M&Ms aren’t gluten free where you live (hello Aussie friends!).
These brownies are truly my go-to recipe for “regular” brownies whenever I need to make a batch. I leave off the chocolate ganache topping if I’m ever transporting them anywhere.
The recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9-inch x 12-inch pan, but I recommend lowering the baking temperature to 325°F and increasing the baking time to about 45 minutes. Do keep an eye on them because the bottom may burn. You’re better off baking a double batch in 2 separate 8-inch square pans.
Dairy free: In place of butter, you can try using Earth Balance Buttery Sticks. That should work fine, although I’ve never tried it so I’m not entirely sure. The heavy cream in the ganache can be replaced with coconut cream. Just use dairy free chocolate.
Egg free: My favorite egg substitute is a “chia egg” (but use ground chia flour, not whole seeds), but I haven’t tested it in this recipe. Feel free to experiment!
Corn syrup: Light corn syrup is not at all the same as the much-hated high-fructose corn syrup. It is an “invert sugar,” which just means that it’s a mixture of two sugars (glucose and fructose) and is less likely to crystallize. In this particular recipe, you can replace it with honey (which will impart a distinct taste) or a rich simple syrup (which won’t).
P.S. In case you’re looking for more gluten free brownie recipes…
These homemade marshmallow rice krispie treats are actually easier than making the iconic treats with packaged marshmallows. Plus, they’re naturally gluten free and made with the simplest pantry ingredients.
When my kids were younger, they used to beg me to make them rice krispie treats. Somehow they knew how simple the traditional recipe was, but I didn’t care. I absolutely hated making them, with all their super stickiness and my never having a package of marshmallows lying around.
These rice krispie treats are less sticky to make when the marshmallow is homemade, plus packaged marshmallows always go stale on me before I’m ready to use them. Ever try to make rice krispie treats with stale marshmallows? No bueno.
As long as you have powdered gelatin, rice cereal, sugar, and butter (or a substitute) when they beg you can say yes.
Fear not the cooking of sugar! Cooking sugar can really be done without any water at all, but it’s much more likely to burn. That’s hard.
Cooking sugar with a bit of water in the pan is easy, as long as you keep an eye on your instant read thermometer. I have a whole bunch of different thermometers, for use in bread-baking, candy-making and deep-frying of all sorts. But the simplest will do.
Even if you don’t have a candy thermometer, you can determine that candy has reached the “softball stage” the old-fashioned way: if it easily forms a ball when dropped into cold water, but flattens once it’s out, it’s in the softball stage, between 23°8 and 242°F. It’s just some sugar water, though. Nothing to worry about!
And there is no corn syrup in these treats. Corn syrup helps keep sugar from crystallizing, which will ruin marshmallows, but a dash of cream of tartar will get the job done, too. Let’s use that! If you don’t have cream of tartar but you do have light corn syrup, replace the cream of tartar with 1 teaspoon of light corn syrup added to the sugar as it cooks.
I am not anti-corn syrup (it’s not the same as high-fructose corn syrup, by the way), but I really wanted these to be simple. I also wanted them to be corn free, since that seems to come up relatively often.
And think of it this way – you’ll seriously never have to buy marshmallows again. Try making s’mores with fresh, homemade marshmallows. Oh, and our no machine marshmallow ice cream is a natural next step!
Why they’re better
Unlike rice krispie treats made with commercial marshmallows, these fresh ones are nice and crispy but not at all rock-hard when chilled. And chilling them makes them super easy to slice.
They literally set up in minutes even when they’re not chilled. Then, when your super nice neighbor invites you over for a last-minute barbecue for Memorial Day, you can pack ’em up and go! If you’re in a rush, just pop them in the freezer for a couple of minutes and slice away.
Substitutions, you say?
I know you love to know about substitutions. So here’s what I know, and what I don’t about how to make these homemade marshmallow rice krispie treats:
Dairy Free: Just swap out the butter for Earth Balance Buttery Sticks. Done.
Corn Free: Hahaha just kidding. They’re already corn free.
Sugar Free: Well, that’s just not happening, since marshmallows are basically whipped cooked sugar with gelatin added. But you can make them refined sugar free by replacing the 2 cups of granulated sugar with 1 1/2 cups (504 g) honey. The honey will turn darker as it cooks to the softball stage. Stir to prevent burning.
Grain Free: If you know of a grain-free cereal with small pieces, no bigger than the size of a cheerio, give it a try! But I know of no such cereal.
These healthy cereal bars are just like KIND bars, but you customize them and you control the amount of honey!
Snacking happens. It just does. If you’re my kid, you’re not going to eat candy right before dinner, but you are going to eat in between meals. Let’s do it right, then.
When my kids were super little, I was soooo focused on keeping them on a plan for two things: sleeping and eating. They napped in their own beds, and they went to sleep at a very reasonable hour.
And they ate 3 meals and 2 snacks a day. That’s it. The snacks were things like fresh fruit, maybe some cheese and crackers.
We didn’t really do energy bars, and breakfast was eggs and fruit. Not cereal. Not cereal bars. No way. That was then, and this is now. Now my kids are older, and I’m less obsessed with their eating between meals. They play sports, and they’re always hungry. At least I can try to get something good into them.
Cereal or no cereal?
Most cereals are full of extra sugar, and don’t satisfy anyone for very long. Not to mention how incredibly expensive breakfast cereals are.
For so many years, I got up extra early and made them eggs for breakfast every single school morning. Whether they liked it or not. Eggs pack so much more bang for your breakfast buck than cereal.
But sometimes, the cupboards are bare… except for some cereal and milk. So cereal it is. We buy mostly Chex cereals, and I’m glad to have them when we need them.
My personal favorite gluten free cereal is puffed rice. You know, Rice Krispies-style cereal. There are a number of companies that make gluten free puffed rice.
I usually buy Erewhon crisp rice cereal, since it’s super simple and good quality. If I can find it on sale, I’ll also buy Nature’s Path Organic Crispy Rice, but I think it has more sugar.
Store bought or homemade?
For on the go breakfasts, and for snacks between meals, these days we do buy a bunch of gluten free energy bars and cereal bars. My kids tend to be divided about which is the “best” gluten free bar.
Some of them taste downright awful to me, like Quest bars, and ain’t nobody gonna convince me otherwise. KIND bars come in a million different flavors, and there’s usually something for everyone. Many of them really are cereal bars, not just fruit and nut bars.
Luna bars are really more like candy bars, but my oldest can’t seem to live without them. She will go for one of my homemade protein bars, though, if I have one on offer. But let’s face it: sometimes it’s just not possible!
Make them your own
If you’re willing to make a batch or two of your own bars, a recipe like this one for gluten free cereal bars can really save the day. It’s so easy to swap out one nut for another, or even some of the nuts for some dried fruit.
There are a few rules to follow if you want to make cereal bars that actually hold together, instead of crumbling into a weepy mess in your hands. But you can still customize them in plenty of ways, and even cut back on the honey quite a bit.
Here are the rules:
⇢Rule #1. Use raw, unsalted nuts. If you add a lot of really processed nuts, like salted this and roasted that, you’ll pay more for the nuts and you’ll be stuck with that flavor profile.
⇢Rule #2. The recipe calls for 1/2 to 3/4 cup (168 g to 252 g) honey and/or Lyle’s Golden Syrup. You need a thick, sticky sugar to hold these bars together. You can use 1/2 cup, but don’t use less. The bars just won’t hold together. Trust me I’ve tried.
⇢Rule #3. Use softer nuts that are easy to break, like pecans, cashews and peanuts. If you want to use other nuts, like almonds, buy them slivered or sliced. I’ve used whole or chopped almonds, and they are just too large to hold together in the bar without using a metric ton of honey.
And remember, if you’re going to ruin my kid’s appetite for a meal, you’d better really ruin it. Like, don’t send them back to me feeling a little hungry. A kid who is a little hungry is going to be really picky. And I don’t do picky.
Black bean brownies are a special kind of flourless gluten free brownie, and this amazing recipe doesn’t taste at ALL like beans. Really! Tasting is believing.
I think can agree that baking with beans mostly means tasting beans. But it doesn’t have to be that way! I’m about to show you that sometimes you can bake with beans and not taste them. Instead, you’ll just taste … brownies.
First, though, as you can see in the video above you can use a food processor or a blender to make those beans into a puree. I usually use a blender, but generally it’s easier to get every last drop of puree out of the food processor.
A blender will mean a smoother puree. But even if your puree isn’t 100% smooth, you still won’t taste beans in the brownies. Unbelievable, right?!
Now on to the actual beans-baking portion. Here’s the deal: I have a long, and rather unfortunate past relationship with baking with beans.
When I first started baking gluten free, way, way back in 2004 (not a typo), my first “all purpose gluten free flour” was Bette Hagman’s bean flour blend.
I blended it myself. It mostly worked, and I made sure that everything I baked had a nice, strong flavor to compete with the garbanzo bean flour.
But my gosh the smell! And the taste, I’m afraid, too. Just … no. Seriously it scarred me enough that I’m still building up to even trying aquafaba, even though I find it terribly intriguing. (Vegan marshmallow fluff has to happen!)
These naturally gluten free black bean brownies are truly flourless, like our fudgy flourless brownies. But the base is black beans.
Now, I love black beans—in my burritos. And, say, on Taco Tuesday. But in my brownies? I was seriously skeptical. But also intrigued!
When I set to work, I knew they weren’t going to be fudgy, but we already had that covered. And you know there was no way I was going to publish a recipe in one of my gluten free cookbooks or on my blog that wasn’t solid.
I figured maybe I’d play around with a recipe a bit, and then send my experiments to the circular file. Was I ever wrong!
Now I can’t emphasize this enough:
You do not taste the beans in these brownies. The vanilla extract, cocoa powder, and bit of brewed coffee take care of that (no, you don’t taste the coffee either—just the chocolate!).
And these brownies still deliver a whole lot of fiber without any downside. This also means you can make moist and rich gluten free brownies—without any specialized flours or other ingredients.
The only equipment you need is any blender (both my high-speed blender and my mini, nonfancy blender that I got for free ages ago work perfectly) or food processor. Just remember that the food processor won’t puree the beans quite as smoothly.
The only ingredients are a can of black beans, eggs, oil, cocoa powder, brown sugar, vanilla, a touch of baking soda, salt and some brewed coffee (even decaf). That’s all.
These black bean brownies are tender as could be, plus rich and not-too-sweet. I bet they’d even work with coconut palm sugar in place of brown sugar, too.
Color me surprised. And, let’s face it, delighted to have been totally and completely wrong!
These fudgy avocado brownies are actually good for you. So easy to make, they’re gluten free, and guilt-free!
Ever since I made black bean brownies that actually taste good, I’ve been terribly curious about the possibility of avocado brownies about which I could say the same. Good news! I’ve hit avocado paydirt.
Whether you love avocados, or just love brownies and think avocados taste terrible, these are a must-try. They taste nothing like avocados (thank you, cocoa powder!), but boast all the health benefits of them.
As it turns out, baking with avocados in place of butter cut back on saturated fat—and adds 20 vitamins, minerals and nutrients (source). Look, it’s not like I’m advocating ditching butter altogether. I love the stuff.
But if we can save ourselves some bad stuff, pick up some good stuff, and have our brownies still taste heavenly, then why not give it a shot?
When I was developing this recipe, I began with my recipe for flourless brownies. Naturally, then, I tried making them flourless at first.
I ended up with something that looked like a brownie from overhead, but from the side resembled, well, Jello. You simply need some flour (just 1/4 cup!) in these avo brownies. I haven’t tried using one of my gum-containing all purpose gluten free flours, but it’s worth a shot if you’re so-inclined.
You can certainly use refined granulated sugar in place of lower-glycemic, nutrient-containing coconut palm sugar. But since I was removing saturated fat, I didn’t want to use refined sugar.
The resulting brownies are truly fudgy, delightfully rich but not at all heavy. I don’t provide nutritional facts for my recipes, but if you were to plug these into an online nutrition calculator and compare them to a traditional sort of gf brownie, I think you’d be pleased.
I love avocados, but my oldest child does not. I’m happy to report that she gave these avocado brownies an enthusiastic thumbs up, with no trace of avo taste. Baking with chocolate has its benefits!
Oh, and if you’re interested in the drizzle on top of the brownies, it’s just about a tablespoon of mashed avocado, plus a bit of milk, mixed with confectioners’ sugar. Definitely not healthy!