Simple Gluten Free....

Simple Gluten Free....
Fresh is always best...and gluten free too!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Melt and Mix Energy Bars...

Here's a new recipe I've just invented for gluten free energy bars.

My 11 year old daughter is a busy dancer and athlete, and now that gluten products are out of the picture, I've had real difficulty finding energy packed goodies to keep her going.

She's great with inventive lunch box treats like beetroot, pineapple rings, carrot sticks, coconut macaroons, and GF pasta. But she's so active, that she doesn't always have time to eat everything we've packed.

I really wanted something, that was reasonably healthy, tasted like a treat, but was packed with energy laden ingredients so that she could just grab and run.

This is a great versatile recipe that allows you to vary the ingredients according to what you prefer or what you have on hand, so don't be frightened to make substitutions and be inventive.

So here it is...we love them...hope you do too.


Food Processor
Large baking tray...a Swiss Roll tin or Lamington tin is perfect
Large mixing bowl
Small saucepan
Measuring cups
Large knife. Serrated edged is best
Foil for wrapping and container for storing


1 1/2 cups dates (or any dried fruit or combination of dried fruit)
1/4 cup almonds (I used flaked almonds as that's what I had...but they'll go in the food processor so whole is fine too)
3 dessertspoons sesame seeds
3 dessertspoons shredded or dessicated coconut
2 dessertspoons cocoa
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1/4 cup white chocolate buttons or melts (optional)
3/4 cup peanut butter or any other nut butter or tahini
3/4 cup honey. You can also use rice malt syrup, golden syrup, or even molasses if you like the flavour
4 cups gluten free breakfast cereal. We use Waffle Bitz manufactured by Back to Nature. But GF rice bubbles, muesli or oats are fine too.

Line a large baking tray with baking paper. You won't be baking these, but it will prevent them sticking in the pan. Use enough baking paper to leave a bit of overhang, so you can lift the slice out easily for cutting up later.

Have a second sheet of baking paper ready to top the mixture for compressing in the pan.

Chop the dates roughly with a sharp knife first, so your food processor doesn't go into overdrive chopping them, then add the dates or other dried fruit, almonds, sesame seeds, coconut, cocoa, sunflower seeds, choc chips and choc melts (if you're using them) to the bowl of the food processor.

Pulse the processor several times to get the larger pieces chopped roughly, then put the processor on maximum speed for a minute or so. Check at 20 second intervals. You're looking for a medium fine texture with some chunks of dates and chocolate still apparent. So don't go overboard and make it too 'sandy' looking.

Tip this mixture into the large bowl, and add the breakfast cereal.

Put the nut butter and honey into the small saucepan, and heat over a medium hotplate, stirring until combined and melted.

Once melted, pour this over the mixture in the bowl and combine well. You need everything well coated in the nut butter and honey.

Once well combined, tip this into the lined tray. Using clean, wet hands, compress the mixture into the pan, spreading into the corners and making it as even as possible.

Place the other sheet of baking paper over the top of the mixture, and use a rolling pin to flatten and compress to a nice flat surface.

Chill for two hours.

Once chilled, lift the slice out and place it on the bench.

Using the knife, cut the slice into bars, sticks, or squares depending upon how you like it. We cut ours into sticks about 12mm x 120mm, and we get 32 bars this way. These are a good size as they are easy to handle and can be consumed quickly between netball matches or dance classes. But that's just our preference. I have also cut them even smaller into little cubes to just pop in the mouth, which then means they don't need wrapping and can go into individual containers ready for lunchboxes.

Now I wrap them in alfoil, twisting the ends like a lolly wrapper. You don't have to do this, but I've found it's the easiest way to store them and have them on hand for lunches and snacks. You could also store them in a container with sheets of baking paper between layers to stop them sticking.

They're best kept in the fridge, but at this cooler time of year, in the pantry is fine too.

If anyone remembers enjoying Jupiter Bars as a child, you're gonna love these!


Monday, May 2, 2011

Think Laterally...yummy coconut macaroons and meringues...already GF!

I am constantly amazed at the generosity of  the parents of my daughters friends. Some of them go to the most extraordinary lengths to accomodate her eating preferences, spending their hard earned cash on all kinds of pre-made little gourmet Gluten Free treats.

I've had to take a couple of them aside and say 'but here...these are easy and naturally gluten free'...

The luscious mounds of sugary meringue in todays photo are actually my failures! I tried a recipe that followed along the lines of meringues, when what I really wanted was macaroons. Still, as you see, they were spectacular, and the Diva claimed they tasted like Anzac cookies (another favourite), so a mighty good failure achieved!

I'm also thinking of suggesting fresh fruit, fresh vege sticks, dips like hommus and tzatziki, Aeroplane brand packet jelly (jello), plain chocolate bars, home made potato wedges or baked potato, home made iceblocks made with fruit juice and of course these....

Moist and yummy coconut macaroons
Makes about 36

2 eggs
½ cup caster sugar
½  cup icing sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups shredded or dessicated coconut

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Line two baking trays with baking (parchment) paper.

Beat the eggs in a medium bowl.

Add the sugars and salt and mix well.

Add the coconut and stir, ensuring all the coconut is well coated.

Spoon small teaspoonsful onto the baking trays. These do not spread, so you don’t need to leave much room between them. Mound them up so they look like little mountains.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and firm.

Store in an airtight container.

Will last up to 7 days in the refrigerator (ha-ha), and will become more moist and chewy with storage.

We're not finding this new eating plan too challenging yet...when does it get hard???

Here's to our (gluten free), Mimi