Before I went gluten free, I’d grab a granola bar for breakfast or an afternoon pick-me-up in a minute. Obviously they had to go out the door with the gluten, but there was another good reason to ditch them. Two words: added sugar. Like so many other processed foods, so-called “health bars” are usually loaded with sugar, preservatives, and other, well, stuff. So it wasn’t really a tragedy not to have them anymore. Still, I like the idea of a granola, health, or protein bar as long as it’s made well.
I’ve heard of people making granola bars before, but I never tried it until a couple weeks ago. Here’s what started this: I bought the wrong kind of granola to put in my yogurt. It had banana chips in it, so picky me went back to the store to buy the right kind. I didn’t want to waste the banana chippy granola, though, so I thought I’d turn it into bars.
I searched the internet and specifically The Food Network, but all the recipes I saw included wheat germ. Finally I found a fantastic gluten free recipe here. It was really easy to follow and, like all of my favorite recipes, open for suggestions. I followed the recipe but subbed in a little bit of my leftover granola for some of the oats and added chocolate chips per Steve’s request.
I haven’t been eating them for breakfast, but I’ve had them for an afternoon snack, and more than once they’ve saved me from going for something really bad like a candy bar or “candy coffee” (Hi, Starbucks.).
The ingredients were really easy to find – they came from the bulk and organic sections of Wegmans, and most of them are things I keep in my pantry anyway. Except dates. Can we just talk about dates for a second and how they look like bugs? I’m not one to get squeamish with raw chicken or mysteriously congealed leftovers, but these? Yikes. I like them much better when they’re pulverized.
Weird squishy things aside, this recipe turned out really well. The only cooking involved is melting the honey and peanut butter together on the stove and roasting your almonds and oats – if you want. Once it’s all mixed up, it goes into a square baking dish and freezes for a while. Super easy and super tasty, although I must admit my bars probably had a little bit more sugar than they should have because I used honey roasted peanut butter instead of regular, but I could just cut down on the honey and take care of that.
These are quickly becoming a staple around here. You should definitely check out the recipe or find one that you like and try it. Just don’t make the same mistake I did a few days ago and buy regular dates with pits in them (or if you do, remember to pit them first). Your food processor won’t like it and neither will you.