I don’t know about you but I find baking on the weekends to be the most relaxing thing to do. Over the past year or so I have baked tons of delicious treats, most of them being gluten free. Now you might be thinking, ” But gluten free things taste like cardboard!” Yup you are right, some of it does, but A LOT of it tastes like pure heaven mixed with tears of pure joy. I promise. Trust me.
You might even be thinking, “Health food? Woof! Bring on the chocolate cake!” I’m right there with you, home skillet. I would sell many of my belongings on any given day for a piece of double chocolate cake. I swear. However, these bars? Oh, these bars don’t taste like boring ” health food,” these bars are beautiful rectangles of sweet and chewy joy mixed with peanut buttery goodness. How can you not want to partake in that?
The bars I made were adapted from these bars, Chewy Dark Chocolate Cherry Protein Granola Bars. If you haven’t ever checked out that website, please do. It’s incredible.
These bars are packed with almonds, gluten free oats, chia seeds, craisins, PB2, chocolate ( soy, nut, dairy free!) and other delicious goodies. They are super filling and would be awesome for your on the go breakfast or a little pick me up during the day when life at your desk is getting you down! Amiright?!
You can easily adapt these bars to suit your every want and need. If you haven’t ever used chia seeds in your baking/everyday life, I would HIGHLY recommend you start. Right now. Go to the store, buy them, put them on everything. They are packed with fiber, vitamins and are all around awesome for you. I add them every morning to my smoothies and now these little delicious morsels have them in there as well. I also used PB2 mixed with a little almond butter to cut down on calories, etc. If you are looking to cut down even more on sugar (which is almost always my goal when baking) you can opt for any dried fruit that does not have added sugar in it. For today’s bars I used craisins because that’s what I had on hand. I also added in some coconut flour to replace the protein powder. The coconut flour gives an extra hint of flavor! Get creative! I also nixed the brown rice cereal and added nuts instead. Eating gluten free tends to mean a lot of things are made out of some sort of rice or potato starch so when I can avoid it, I do.
These taste sinful but in all honesty are not. This week’s afternoon snack at the office is going to be a pretty exciting 30 seconds as I inhale these bars! Even my husband is excited to take these to work as an afternoon pick me up. I hope you enjoy them as much as we are. These are also great crumbled up into your favorite yogurt! Get creative and let me know what you come up with!
1/3 cup nut butter ( I used half PB2 and half almond butter)
1/4 cup maple syrup ( you can use honey or agave, I used a little less to cut down the sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract ( I added another tsp of butter vanilla flavoring because duh, butter)
1 2/3 cup gluten free oats
1/8 cup coconut flour (this is optional but I suggest if you add it to add a little more nut butter to keep it sticky)
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/3 cup craisins
1/4 cup soy, nut, dairy free mini chocolate chips ( I prefer to use these, Enjoy Life makes delicious ones, feel free to use the real stuff, I know you want to)
1 tablespoon chia seeds ( I would have used more but the husband is suspicious of them?)
- Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.
- In a large bowl combine the nut butter, almond milk, maple syrup and vanilla. Stir until smooth. Stir in the oats, nuts, chocolate, chia seeds, coconut flour and craisins until its all thick and sticky and everything is coated nicely.
- Pour mixture into the pan and use your spatula to spread it out evenly and press down. You need to press firmly to ensure everything sticks together. I like to take another piece of parchment paper and place it on top and press down with my hands. Make sure you don’t bake the bars with that extra piece of parchment paper on top. Just sayin!
- Bake for 17 – 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. I gave mine about 25 minutes until I cut them into 10 rectangles and immediately devoured one.