Now that I had some time off between Christmas and New Years and I am done putting away the oddles of toys my kids got- I was finally able to find some time to bake!!
I was inspired by a granola bar that my local health food store started carrying recently. As I have been a celiac for quite some time I was from the school that said stay away from oats. So granola is quite a new thing to me. I decided to try making this granola crumble about a year back and I really did not fancy the texture of the oats. And being the stubborn individual I am I just decided I must not like oats. When they were sampling these new granola bars I was surprised at how yummy they were and the texture was not like the granola I had made. They have many different flavors but at $2.50-$3.00 per one tiny bar, I felt it was worth another attempt at making my own granola.
These bars are quite adaptable as you can use a wide variety of dried fruit and seeds and nuts as substitutes in the recipe below. However I must say my favorite bar does feature the Lemon and cranberry which I find very refreshing. One of the secrets to the success of this granola versus the last one I made was the size of the oats. I purchased quick oats which are cut and smaller in size, my last attempt used a large size oat which I found too chewy.
These granola bars are also super healthy as they contain only natural sugars and do not even require flour, so if you wish to make a non gluten free version just use your own oats as they are the only special addition for a gluten free diet.
These make great granola bars or you can crumble the granola after it cools and enjoy it with yogurt or milk or as a crumble granola snack. We found granola helpful this fall when I enrolled the girls in a dance class right before kindergarten and we were unable to make it home for lunch (not sure what I was thinking!) It made a perfect lunch paired with a fruit smoothie.
Since I feel I have been a bit to busy to dedicate time to my blog, I am making a new years resolution to try to write two new posts per month. Perhaps there might be another granola or two in my blogging future... Happy New Years everyone and enjoy!!
Gluten Free Lemon Cranberry Granola
1 1/3 cup dried chopped and pitted dates
1 cup water
2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp margarine or butter
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 cup chopped almonds
1 1/2 cup gluten free quick oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1. Add water and dates to a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and stir until dates begin to melt. Continue cooking until dates make a medium thick paste. Add more water if required to help dates melt.
2. To the melted dates add honey, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Stir all ingredients together.
3. Remove the pot from heat and mix in all remaining ingredients and stir well until all ingredients are incorporated.
4. Spray a casserole dish with Pam or line with parchment paper. Pour granola mix into the dish and spread evenly across dish.
5. Bake at 300F for 40-45 mins or until just slightly brown.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. If making bars, I prefer to continue to cool it in the fridge and then cut into bars.
7. Store granola bars in a container and for a longer lifespan, freeze or store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!!