Elizabeth’s Gluten-Free Granola Bars

February 27, 2011

I tend to shy away from things described as “health food.” I want a food to be primarily described as delicious. I want it’s healthiness to be present, but not obvious. But I do eat a decent amount of granola bars. They are portable snacks that can be quickly consumed on ski lifts or when I need a quick bite at the hospital. However, I have many bones to pick with almost every granola bar on the market. Here are my general vendettas against granola bars.

Granola bars are not healthy, but are marketed as a “health food.” They are sugar-y, they are carb-y. They are not filling enough, and if they are filling enough they remind me of a moist brick (yes, Larabar, I’m looking at you). And to top it all off, they’re expensive!

But recently, I tried a granola bar that I really like. They come in tasty flavors (Macadamia Apricot and Almond Coconut being two of my favorites). And they don’t taste much like a granola bar. They taste a lot like fruit and nuts that happen to be bound together in bar form. They have a good nutrition profile too: they’re gluten free, they’re low in carbs, they’re high in fiber and protein. (I’m leaving them unnamed because I don’t want this to sound like a product endorsement. But I’m happy to let you know what they are if you ask). The only problem is, they’re $1.50 a bar. I don’t want to pay that if I can make my own at home in 30 minutes.

I began my granola bar project by looking up recipes online. If you think packaged granola bars are unhealthy, you should see some of the homemade ones! Tons of butter/oil and sugar. I’m pretty sure most cookies have fewer calories and taste way better.

So I decided to just make it up and figure it out along the way. I knew I wanted them to be mostly apricot, almond, and coconut, but I also knew they’d need a bit of sweetener and a binding agent (a liquid protein of some kind) to make them stick together. My cousin, Amy, told me about a Weight Watchers Granola Recipe where eggs act as the binder, so I decided to try that.

I added some canola oil, flaxseed (to increase the fiber and also because I like the seedy crunch), and a little sugar. And that’s it!

I think I’ll be making a big batch every couple weeks for skiing or for work. I’m looking forward to trying different combinations of fruit and nuts, too. Tell me about the combinations you like!

ELIZABETH’S GLUTEN-FREE GRANOLA BARS (by me)

Makes 8 bars. Each bar has about 210 calories.

For the fruit, I used unsweetened apricots. For the nuts, I used almonds. I highly recommend this combination.

Ingredients

2/3 cup raw nuts

1/4 cup flax seeds

2/3 cup dried fruit, (preferably unsweetened) rough chopped

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

3 tbsp canola oil

2 raw eggs

1/4 cup sugar

Nonstick cooking spray

Recipe

Preheat oven to 375. In a food processor, grind almonds to a coarse meal. Add all remaining ingredients (except cooking spray, of course) to food processor. Grind until all ingredients are incorporated. Spray an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray, then pat down the batter to cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Bake 15-20 minutes, until top is browned.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: