Gluten Free Energy Bars

I have always loved cooking, but baking has always been challenging for me because it seems that you can’t be as creative with baking as with cooking. (I’ve trying “throwing in a little of this and little of that” while baking and … well… it just doesn’t turn out so great.) It is also challenging because not very many baked goods are gluten free, a diet which I try to stick by, (not to mention most sweets are not especially good for you). With these bars, you can get your sugar fix and actually still be eating healthy.

I found this recipe in some Cub Foods pamphlet a few months ago and changed it to suit my dietary needs. It is a healthy variation of “Special K Bars” or what in my family we call “Scotcharoos.” I tried my best to stick by the recipe guidelines and well, they turned out delish! This is what I used:

2 cups Bakery on Main Gluten Free Extreme Fruit & Nut Granola, divided (If you are not gluten intolerant, any fruit and nut granola will do. The original recipe called for Wild Harvest organic Date & Cashew granola)

1/2 c. dried organic apricots (they are not as pretty being black and all, but much better for you :))

1/2 c. dried organic cranberries

1/2 c. Ghirardelli chocolate chips

3 c. Erewhon Organic GF crispy brown rice cereal (again, any “crispy rice” cereal will do)

12 oz. (1 1/2 c.) organic honey

1 c. organic peanut butter

1 t. pure vanilla extract

How to make it:

Combine 1 1/2 c. granola, apricots, cranberries and chocolate chips in a food processor; pulse until finely chopped but not pasty. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. It will be very dark in color and look kind of like moist brown sugar.

Add crispy rice cereal and remaining 1/2 c. granola; mix until well combined. Set aside. (Mine did not mix very well. But it all tastes quite yummy in the end!)

In medium saucepan over low heat, combine honey, peanut butter, and vanilla; stir until well combined and bubbly (about 3 minutes). (Mine did not become bubbly, but it did come close to burning so be careful!)

Pour over cereal mixture and stir with large spoon. Press into a 13 x 9-inch pan. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Cut into bars.

Now I have something to take with me to my roommate’s parents’ who are hosting me for Easter. Hope everyone has a blessed weekend. I can’t comprehend what my Savior has done for me…but at least I have my whole life ahead of me to try! Blessings to all!

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