Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Grain-Free "PB&J" Bars

I developed this recipe for non-paleo friends, as an attempt to offer up a grain and dairy-free treat that wouldn't require any high-maintenance ingredients or methods.

I used raw almond butter for my version, but AB&J doesn't have the same familiar ring to it. While I did opt for the ease of an all-natural fruit spread, I'm definitely going to be revisiting these when the kids and I go berry-picking in spring. Some fresh berries reduced with a little maple syrup (if the added sweetener is even necessary!) would make a delicious filling.

I had to bake these for a very long time, and I did find that they were still quite fragile afterward. I split the baking time in half to avoid scorching the crumble topping, and recommend storing them in the fridge or freezer to keep them firm.

And an added note for my nut-free readers: I intentionally made these without baking soda to see how they'd turn out. Success! So feel free to make with sunflower seed butter and you don't worry about your bars turning green.

Grain-Free "PB&J" Bars

1 cup raw almond butter or organic sunflower seed butter
3 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup no sugar-added fruit spread (or use real berries)

crumble topping:
1 cup raw almonds or nut/seed of choice
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
2 tbs. maple syrup or raw honey
1 tbs. coconut oil
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Combine nut butter, eggs, banana and vanilla and beat with a stand or electric mixer until smooth. Mix in salt and cinnamon. Pour mixture into a greased baking dish.

Bake for 30 minutes or until center is still a little soft but edges are firm. Meanwhile, combine all crumble topping ingredients in a food processor or small blender. Pulse until the mixture comes together.

Once nut butter base is done, allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Top with fruit spread (my spread was quite thick, so I found it easiest to sort of drop it by spoonfuls rather than trying to spread it across).

Scatter crumble mixture on top, pressing down gently with your palm. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until crumble topping is starting to turn golden. Allow to cool before cutting into bars.

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