Allergen-Free Sweet ‘n’ Salty Trail Mix Bars Recipe
Posted by Karen Joy
Since we’ve been gluten-free (more than five years, now), one of the things I’ve missed the most is granola bars — crunchy ones, chewy ones, I like ’em all. Lately, there have been a ton of “trail mix” kinds of granola bars that have just made my mouth water as I sadly pass them by in the grocery store aisle. We’re not only gluten-free, we’re oat-free, peanut-free, tree-nut-free and dairy-free. This cuts down on our snacking options considerably.
Recently, I decided to stop pouting and do something about it. I found that it’s fairly easy to make your own allergen-free “granola” bars. This recipe uses a variety of seeds and dried fruit combined with puffed rice cereal to make a chewy, sweet “granola” bar.
I get most of my ingredients in bulk from a local, natural foods store, which keeps the cost low.
If no one in your home is allergic to nuts, of course, you could use any nut you’d like (though almonds would be difficult to slice through).
~Do use rice PUFFS, not crisp rice. Puffed millet also works, or a combination of the two.
~To ensure that your seeds (pumpkin/squash, sunflower, etc.) are uncontaminated, consider buying raw, then pan roasting them at home: Pour a couple teaspoons sunflower (or other) oil in a large saucepan. Place over medium heat. Add the raw seeds, stir to coat. Stir very frequently just until the seeds start to brown. Pour immediately into a paper-towel-lined bowl, and cool.
~Watch your thermometer!! If the mixture cooks too long, you’ll have too-hard-to-chew bars. Once you’ve reached the proper temperature, work quickly, as the mixture will continue to cook (and the temperature rise) until you’ve poured it out of the saucepan. I’ve found that the honey mixture is a little more forgiving to over-cooking than corn syrup.
Allergen-Free Sweet ‘n’ Salty Trail Mix Bars
1 cup honey (or corn syrup)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla (or coconut) extract or flavoring
1 tsp salt (optional)
A total of 3 quarts (12 cups) mix, using 3 or more of the following ingredients:
- 4-8 cups of puffed rice or puffed millet cereal
- dried cranberries
- other dried berries
- other dried fruit, like bits of dried pineapple or mango
- banana “chips” (dried, fried banana slices — sweetened or unsweetened)
- flaked coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
- roasted, shelled sunflower seeds
- roasted, shelled pumkin seeds (also called pepitas)
Line an 11″ x 17″ pan (jellyroll pan) with aluminum foil — preferably nonstick foil. Spray the foil surfaces (even if using nonstick foil) with spray-oil, or coat with dairy-free shortening or margarine.
In a large heatproof bowl (stainless steel, ceramic or glass) combine the cereal, fruit, seeds and salt (if using). Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine the honey (or corn syrup) and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture begins to boil. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of the pan, making sure that the thermometer is immersed in the mixture, but not touching the bottom of the pan. If using corn syrup: Cook without stirring until the thermometer reaches 238 degrees F. If using honey: Cook without stirring until thermometer reaches 250 degrees F. Quickly remove from heat, quickly stir in the vanilla (or other flavoring), then pour the hot mixture over the cereal mixture. With a wooden or heat-proof plastic spoon, mix and stir until the syrup mixture coats the cereal mixture. Immediately turn out onto the prepared, lined pan. With oiled hands (or just slip a plastic sandwich bag over your hand), press the mixture firmly down until it fills the pan.
Set the pan aside to cool for a bit (approximately 15 – 45 minutes, depending on weather). This is the only really tricky part of this recipe: If the bars are too warm, they will not cut well; they’ll be too gooey. But, if you wait too long, they will have hardened, making it very difficult to cut through. So, when the bars are mostly-cool, and somewhat firm, using an oiled knife or pizza cutter, cut into 36 rectangular bars.
After bars are cooled completely, to preserve their freshness and chewiness, wrap each bar in a small square of plastic wrap.
About Karen JoyI'm a homeschooling mother of six -- 3 boys ages 18, 15 and 13 years old, and three girls: 9, 6, and 2. I like birding, reading, writing, organic gardening, singing, playing guitar, hiking, the outdoors, and books. I am a natural childbirth advocate and an erstwhile birthing class instructor. I'm a CSA coordinator for a local organic farm, Crooked Sky Farms, as well. I have a dear hubby who designs homes for a local home builder and who is the worship pastor of our church. I live in the desert, which I used to hate, but now appreciate.
Posted on November 17, 2007, in Cooking/Baking/Food/Recipes, GF Recipes, GFCF Recipes and tagged cookies, Dairy-free, egg-free, gluten-free, granola bars, nut-free, peanut-free, recipe, tree nut-free. Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.