These delicious, nutritious, gluten-free treats are good to go.
[Updated Dec. 4, 2015]
No time for breakfast? Need a treat for the kids’ lunch bags? Looking for a wholesome dessert? Homemade bars do the trick!
These recipes are convenient for on-the-go indulgence wherever your day may take you. As a bonus, they contain beneficial ingredients that deliver extra protein, fiber, nutrients and antioxidants in every bite.
Amaranth flour provides the nine essential amino acids that make up a complete protein. Gluten-free oats are high in fiber and deliver nutrients like manganese, phosphorus, copper, biotin and vitamin B. Pure maple syrup contains zinc and magnesium. Honey aids in digestion. Coconut sugar is a rich source of potassium, magnesium, iron and zinc and is high in B vitamins. Dates contain fiber, potassium and magnesium and are high in antioxidants. Figs deliver potassium and fiber. Pumpkin and dried apricots are rich in fiber, beta carotene and vitamin C. Pumpkin seeds offer protein, zinc and vitamin B. Flax meal and chia seeds have fiber and omega-3 essential fatty acids. Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E and anti-cancer selenium, an element that helps repair DNA. Sesame seeds are high in iron and phytosterol, a plant compound that helps lower LDL cholesterol.
Packed with ingredients like these, these bars do more than just satisfy hunger. They feed your body well.
Chocolate Maple Sunflower Squares
MAKES 36 SQUARES
A combo of rich maple flavor, dark chocolate and coconut sugar adds just the right blend of natural sweetness. This recipe can be made with egg replacement; see instructions below.
1½ cups Mary’s Baking Blend or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
¼ cup coconut sugar
-Pinch of salt
½ cup non-hydrogenated organic shortening, unsalted butter or dairy-free butter alternative, well chilled
1 egg yolk, cold
½ cup pure maple syrup
⅓ cup coconut sugar or dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons coconut milk in a carton or milk of choice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or dairy-free butter alternative
2 tablespoons dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1¼ cups sunflower seeds, lightly toasted, or pecans, roughly chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9×9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. To make the crust, place flour blend, sugar and salt in the container of a food processor with the blade attachment. Process to combine ingredients. Add chilled shortening and pulse until mixture forms a coarse meal. Add the cold egg yolk and pulse until incorporated. Press crust mixture evenly into prepared pan.
3. Place in preheated oven and bake 20 minutes or until crust is a light golden brown. Remove and set aside.
4. To prepare filling, place maple syrup, sugar, milk, butter and chocolate chips in a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a gentle boil, stirring continuously. When butter is melted, remove from heat and add vanilla and toasted sunflower seeds or chopped pecans.
5. Pour hot filling over crust and return to preheated oven. Bake 15 minutes or until filling bubbles. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
6. Before cutting into squares, place pan in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to set the filling.
Each square contains 113 calories, 7g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 8mg cholesterol, 6mg sodium, 13g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 6g sugars, 1g protein, 7Est GL.
For Egg-Free Chocolate Maple Sunflower Squares, omit the egg yolk. Combine 1 tablespoon flax meal or ground chia seeds with 3 tablespoons hot water. Mix well and let sit 5 minutes to thicken. Chill before adding to the recipe in step 2 to replace the egg yolk.
MAKES 8 BARS
Great for breakfast or an afternoon snack, this recipe contains nutritious ingredients for a healthy energy bar. Make your own signature bar by adding your favorite dried fruit, nuts, seeds or spices.
½ cup dates, such as Medjool or Deglet Noor, chopped
¼ cup honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 tablespoon coconut oil, grape seed oil or canola oil
1 egg white, optional
¼ cup coconut sugar or dark brown sugar
1½ cups gluten-free oats
1 tablespoon golden flax meal
¼ cup raisins, currants or sweetened dried cranberries
¼ cup sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds or nuts of choice, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
-Pinch of sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch pan or line it with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor with blade attachment, blend together dates, honey or syrup and sesame seeds. Pulse until mixture forms a smooth paste.
3. To make granola, whisk together oil, egg white (if using) and sugar in a medium bowl.
4. Add oats, stirring to coat.
5. Add flax meal, raisins, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, vanilla and salt, stirring until well combined.
6. Add date paste to granola, blending until paste is well incorporated.
7. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press down evenly with hands or the back of a spatula.
8. Place in preheated oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool before cutting.
Each bar contains 277 calories, 7g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 49g carbohydrate, 5g fiber, 26g sugars, 7g protein, 28Est GL.
TIP For a crispier bar, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and toast the granola mixture for 10 minutes in preheated oven before adding the date paste.
Classic Apricot Bars
MAKES 40 SMALL SQUARES
Apricot filling and a crust made with coconut sugar and flax meal make this dessert bar rich and flavorful.
1 cup Mary’s Baking Blend or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice ½ teaspoon xanthan gum
¼ cup coconut sugar or date sugar
2 tablespoons golden flax meal or chia seeds
½ cup unsalted butter, dairy-free butter alternative or non- hydrogenated organic shortening, chilled and chopped
½ cup dried apricots
1 teaspoon lemon zest
½ teaspoon lemon extract
2 tablespoons honey, rice syrup or maple syrup
½ cup coconut sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup Mary’s Baking Blend or gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
-Confectioners’ sugar, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 8×8-inch baking pan or line it with parchment paper.
2. To make crust, place flour blend, xanthan gum, sugar and flax meal in the container of a food processor affixed with the blade attachment. Process to combine ingredients. Add cold, chopped butter and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
3. Press crust mixture evenly into prepared pan. Place in preheated oven and bake 15 minutes. Remove crust from oven and let cool slightly before adding filling.
4. To prepare filling, place apricots in a small pan and cover with water. Boil 10 minutes until fruit is soft. Drain and place apricots in the container of a food processor with the blade attachment. Add zest, lemon extract, honey, sugar, baking powder and flour blend and pulse until ingredients are well combined.
5. Spoon filling on to baked crust, pressing the filling down gently with the back of a wet spatula or wooden spoon in order to not disturb the crust. Place in preheated oven and bake 30 minutes.
6. Remove from oven and let cool completely before cutting into 1×1¾-inch squares. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar, if desired. These bars can be made the day before and let sit overnight.
Each square contains 62 calories, 3g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 6mg cholesterol, 5mg sodium, 9g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 5g sugars,1g protein, 5Est GL.
Chocolate Macaroon Squares
MAKES 16 SQUARES
Raw cacao and dark chocolate add antioxidants and rich chocolate flavor to these squares. A layer of unsweetened coconut delivers a nutty taste.
½ cup chopped dates or figs
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil or unsalted butter
½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes or ½ cup gluten-free rice cereal
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons flax meal or ground chia seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds or sesame seeds or combination
¼ cup maple syrup, rice syrup or honey
3 tablespoons raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
3 tablespoons dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
¼ cup unsweetened coconut flakes, for sprinkling on top, optional
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking dish or line it with parchment paper.
2. Place dates or figs, salt and coconut oil in the container of a food processor with the blade attachment. Pulse until the mixture is somewhat smooth. If fruit is dry, add a little water, 1 teaspoon at a time, until fruit blends easily.
3. In a medium bowl, add coconut flakes, vanilla, flax meal, sunflower seeds, maple syrup, cacao powder and chocolate chips. Mix until combined.
4. Add date paste, blending until ingredients are evenly incorporated.
5. Press mixture into prepared pan. Sprinkle coconut flakes on top, if desired.
6. Place pan in preheated oven and bake 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool thoroughly before slicing.
Each square contains 95 calories, 5g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 77mg sodium, 11g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 6g sugars, 2g protein, 4Est GL.
Pumpkin Pie Bars
MAKES 8 BARS
Pure pumpkin puree and warm spices invoke Halloween or Thanksgiving but this recipe is delicious year round.
½ cup chopped dates
¼ cup maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar
1 tablespoon coconut oil, organic margarine or grape seed oil
¾ cup pure pumpkin puree
1 cup gluten-free oats
½ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon ground chia seeds or flax meal
2 tablespoons amaranth flour
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8×8-inch pan or line it with parchment paper.
2. In a food processor, combine dates, syrup, oil and pumpkin. Pulse until mixture forms a paste.
3. In a medium bowl, place oats, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, amaranth flour, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. Stir until well combined.
4. Add date paste to dry ingredients and blend thoroughly.
5. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan.
6. Place in preheated oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes.
7. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan completely before cutting.
Each bar contains 251 calories, 10g total fat, 3g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 4mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate, 6g fiber, 14g sugars, 7g protein, 17Est GL.
MAKES 6 CUPS
Store this blend in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator until used.
2 cups brown rice flour
2 cups white rice flour
1⅓ cups potato starch (not potato flour)
⅔ cup tapioca starch/flour
1. Mix ingredients together.
Each cup contains 564 calories, 2g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 4mg sodium, 127g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 7g protein.
Contributing chef Mary Capone is author of The Gluten-Free Italian Cookbook and creator of Bella Gluten-Free allergy-friendly baking mixes.