For May’s Secret Recipe Club, I was paired with Erin of The Spiffy Cookie! She literally has the cutest little cookie figure – especially the one that has its eyes closed! Erin is definitely a smart cookie – she has a PhD in Microbiology! Plus, she thinks chocolate and peanut butter is the best combination ever!
She even has a whole list of gluten free recipes! I’m happy to know that I’m not the only person who struggles to get up more than 30 minutes before I need to get out the door! She has so many delicious looking recipes like these Avocado Brownies, Raspberry Mango Margarita Pie, Banana Foster Muffins and these Cinnamon Apple Quinoa Parfaits.
In the end, I chose her Peanut Butter Apple Raisin Bars. I made them gluten free, vegan and reduced the sugar in half. Even then, I found them to be quite sweet, although the glaze is good as it adds extra moisture.
They were delicious! The best part were the apples, especially since they got drenched in the glaze. Yum! I sent them along with Mr. Bean to work and his coworkers loved them! They didn’t last very long!
Gluten Free Vegan Peanut Butter Apple Raisin Bars
1/2 c. each brown rice, sorghum and millet flours *(if you don’t have one of these flours, just use more of what you have)
1/2 c. each tapioca and potato starch
1 1/4 tsp. xathan gum
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp raisins, finely diced
1/2 c. dairy free margarine (use soy free buttery spread to make soy free)
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 c. peanut butter (I used Adams all natural crunchy)
2 eggs or egg replacers (1 tbsp. powder + 1/4 c. almond or other dairy free milk)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1+ c. finely diced apples
Almond Milk (I used 4 tbsp as my peanut butter was really quite hard
2 tbsp. peanut butter
2 tbsp. almond milk (my peanut butter was fairly hard, so I added an extra tablespoon of milk)
1 c. sifted icing sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Line a 13″ x 9″ pan with parchment paper (I used a 15″ x 10″ cookie sheet).
- In a small sauce pan, melt maragarine and sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly until smooth. Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- Shift the flours and whisk the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Stir in the diced raisins. Set aside.
- Add eggs one at a time to the peanut butter mixture, stirring until combined. Mix in the vanilla extract.
- Pour peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients, add the apples and stir until combined. Add extra milk if necessary to make the batter more easily spreadable.
- Transfer batter onto prepared pan and spread the batter into the corners.
- Bake in oven for ~20 min for a 15″ x 10″ cookie sheet or ~30min for a 13″ x 9″ pan. The bars should be slightly golden on top and edges are slightly brown.
- Remove and place on a rack to cook.
- As the bars cool, prepare the the glaze by whisking together the icing sugar, peanut butter, almond milk and vanilla extract. Add more milk/sugar to get it to the correct consistency for drizzling.
- Drizzle the glaze over the bars and cut into squares.
Please check out the rest of Group D’s recipes by clicking the link below!
Can you believe that I have never had pecan pie before? I’m assuming for some Americans that is shocking as it’s an American Thanksgiving staple, but my family never ate it. So when Brittany of Real Sustenance announced that the themed for this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free was Thanksgiving, I thought why not try a Thanksgiving staple that I’ve never made before? I guess I could have made an actual pie, but bars are smaller, less fussy and easier to photograph!
From the recipes I first found, I was shocked at the amount and kind of sugar that goes into many of them – 1 c. of corn syrup and at least 1/2 a cup of sugar for one cup of pecans? No thank you! So obviously, I wanted to make my attempt at pecan pie much, much less sweet so I didn’t end up with a headache. This version uses about 1/2 c. of sweetener in total and they are still sweet, but not sickeningly so. I was first inspired by these Vegan Pecan Pie Bars by The Almond Flower – they look so simple and delicious! However, when I asked Mr. Bean about the consistency of the filling and he said “soft” – most likely due to the eggs – and I wasn’t sure if that recipe would give me the texture I wanted. Further searching came up with this Sugar Free Pecan Pie Recipe that uses flax meal and arrowroot powder instead of eggs. It seemed to have worked as Mr. Bean said that the texture of the filling was almost spot on! Hurrah!
Vegan, Gluten and Refined Sugar Free Pecan Pie Bars
2 c. blanched almond flour
4 tbsp. coconut oil, melted
2 tbsp. grapeseed oil
2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
dash of salt
1 3/4 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 – 2 tbsp. honey or agave nectar, if desired
1/4 c. coconut oil
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tbsp. flaxseed meal
1/2 tsp. tapioca starch (could use arrowroot to make grain free)
2 tbsp. nut milk (or whatever kind of milk you want)
Salt for pecans
- To make crust, turn oven to 350F and line with parchment paper or grease an 8×8″ pan.
- Mix ingredients in a medium sized bowl until combined.
- Press into prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes or until the crust starts to turn brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- For the filling: In a small-medium sized pot, mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup, honey and vanilla extract.
- Bring pot up to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking it frequently. (The coconut oil and sweeteners will not mix very much as one is polar and the other is not. Don’t worry as the nut milk slurry will act as an emulsifier.)
- Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. (I stuck mine in the fridge for 10 – 15 minutes, giving it the occasional stir to prevent any coconut oil from hardening.)
- Meanwhile, toast the pecans in a pan on medium heat for about 5 – 8 minutes or until they smell like roasted pecans, stirring frequently. Once toasted, remove from heat and sprinkle with salt.
- In a small bowl, mix together the flaxseed meal, tapioca starch and nut milk. Let it sit for a few minutes.
- Once the sugar-oil mixture is cooler, whisk in the nut milk mixture until combined and smooth.
- Mix in the chopped pecans and mix until combined. Pour onto the cooled shortbread and distribute evenly.
- Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes or until the filling begins to set and loses its shine. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack.
- Before serving, chill in the fridge for at least an hour – the colder they are, the easier they are to cut and serve!
What is your favourite Thanksgiving Staple?
Recipe shared at: Sugar Free Sundays and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.
Do you ever worry about food when you’re away from home for a few days? Like about how you don’t know if you’ll be able to eat anything and how frequently you’ll be able to eat? I do. I know now it’s irrational as most places are good at accommodating allergies and it’s easy enough to find food in grocery stores, but I still fret over it and end up bringing a bunch of my own food on trips. It doesn’t really help that I can get extremely irritable, tetchy and light-headed when I get hungry – Mr. Bean can attest to this!
This past weekend Mr. Bean’s brother got married in Banff (pictures to come!) and (unsurprisingly) I was worried about food. Being my pro-active self, I decided to bring some snacks to munch on and help keep me from becoming a hungry grumpy pants. As well as some apples and fruit source bars, I wanted to make something full of protein and fibre, not full of sugar and something to help keep me from feeling deprived for not getting all the fudge and chocolate we usually get when we go to Banff. Inspired by this oat free granola bar recipe and my energy bars from last summer, I started adding various nuts and dried fruits and came up with this delicious creation.
Gluten Free Raw* Cranberry Mango Nut Bars
3/4 c. raw almonds, chopped
3/4 c. raw cashews, chopped
1/4 c. raw walnuts, chopped
1/4 c. shredded coconut
1/3 c. apple juice sweetened dried cranberries
1/3 c. non-sweetened dried mango, chopped
1/3 c. almond butter
1/4 c. raw honey (more if not staying together)
2 – 3 tbsp. coconut oil
- Grease an 8 x 8″ pan with vegetable oil. Set aside
- In a medium saucepan, combine almond butter, honey and coconut oil. Heat over low heat until coconut oil is melted and mixture is creamy. Note: since I did not boiling the honey, these bars are softer than your average granola bar.
- Dump in the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Scrape into the greased pan. Using a spatula, spread mixture out and press until the bars are an even thickness.
- Put in the freezer for 2 hours to solidify. Part way though freezing time, cut into bars.
- Once they have solidified, store in the fridge.
As it turns out my worrying about food was completely unnecessary as I was very well fed this weekend (I probably ate enough for two people – oops!) but the two times where I started to feel my hunger induced grumpiness coming on, I ate one of these bars and some fruit and life was good again. I guess one could say I’m easy to please. ;)
Are you like me and get really grumpy when you’re really hungry?
*Please note that while most of the ingredients I used were raw, I am assuming the rest of the ingredients are as well. If they actually are not, please accept my apologies and let me know what you decide to substitute them with! :)
This recipe has been submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop 48 and Gluten Free Wednesdays!
After coming home from a birthday party late on Saturday night, I turned to Mr. Bean and told him that I wanted to bake something. Always practical, he convinced me to wait until Sunday as baking at midnight when you’re supposed to be at church the next morning is perhaps not the best idea. So, I started scheming. I knew that I wanted to make some kind of dessert bar (especially given that this month’s challenge at the Gluten-Free Homemaker is to make a dessert bar) but I also didn’t feel like going to the grocery store to get new ingredients, so it had to be made from ingredients in my pantry. I perused many of my cookbooks for a recipe to work off of, but it was this apple bar recipe by Ginger Lemon Girl that really inspired me – simple, vegan, chocolate* and refined sugar free and easily adaptable. Awesome.
When I finally got around to baking on Sunday night (while listening to my dad tell me about the ski trip he and my mum went on for an hour), I just started putting ingredients together. Similar to how Deanna from The Mommy Bowl bakes cookies with her son, I picked my ingredients based on what I wanted the result to be. I wanted a high protein and fibre bar without eggs and the least amount of sweetener as possible, but still sweet enough to be considered a “dessert” bar. I chose an almond/coconut/brown rice/tapioca flour blend and used quinoa flakes as well as oats. For the filling, I chose thawed frozen raspberries as that was what was in my freezer and spices that I thought would go well together. So, I threw these all together (figuratively speaking – I do a good enough job of making my kitchen a disaster area as is) and hoped that it would work out – luckily for me, it did! This bar is just sweet enough – feel free to add more sweetener to taste if that’s what you fancy – and the combination of flours, berries and spices gives it a pleasantly complex flavour.
Gluten Free Vegan Raspberry Squares.
1/2 c. almond flour
1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. tapioca starch
1/4 c. coconut flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. gluten free oats
1/2 c. quinoa flakes
3 tbsp. palm sugar
1/2 – 2/3 c. coconut oil
3 c. thawed raspberries, with as much of the liquid drained as you can.
3 – 4 tbsp. honey or agave nectar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cardamom
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Whisk together flours, baking powder and salt. Add oats, quinoa flakes and palm sugar and mix until evenly distributed.
- Add in unmelted coconut oil. Using your fingers, work the coconut oil into the flour mixture until there are no lumps remaining and the mixture is crumbly.
- In a separate bowl, stir together raspberries, honey and spices. Add more sweetener to reach desired sweetness.
- Press over half of the crumb mixture into a greased 8″ square pan. Scoop the raspberries onto the pressed bar mixture and distribute evenly. Sprinkle the remaining crumb mixture on top of the raspberries and pat lightly.
- Bake in heated oven for 30 – 40 minutes or until topping is light brown.
- Cool completely before cutting into squares.
What is your favourite kind of dessert bar?
*I wanted a chocolate free bar as I’m not sure whether I should eat it as I react negatively to caffeine and potentially cocoa. It makes me a bit sad, but anything to make my body feel good and function properly is worth it in the end. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. ;)
Recipe submitted to: Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Hearth and Soul Hop 43 and Gluten-Free Wednesdays.