Gluten Free Crunchy Chocolate Peanut Bars
If you're like me, then you'll love these bars as they're so crunchy. The Ancient Grains keep their crunch even when cooked and the coffee sugar crystals just add to it as they retain their crunch, too. Most of the sweetness in the bars comes from honey.
If you are concerned about adding the sugar, leave it out. The bars will still be crunchy without it.
Gluten Free is Good!
Whether you need to eat gluten free or not, it's good and a healthy alternative. It's being found more and more that gluten can cause harmful effects and that many people are sensitive to gluten, not just those with celiac disease, although numbers are growing, and many people with it have not been diagnosed.
- For some people, eating food with gluten can lead to a variety of problems in the digestive system, including anaemia, fatigue, nutrient deficiencies and even a risk of early death.
- Symptoms include bloating, stomach pain, joint pain, diarrhoea, irritable bowel syndrome, inflammation of the intestine and even degeneration of the lining of the intestine. It is also linked with brain disorders and damage to the cerebellum.
- However, these symptoms are often unnoticed and the only way to find out if you are sensitive to gluten is to remove it from your diet for about three weeks and then re-introduce it again to see if there is a difference.
- Changing to a gluten free diet has also been found to be beneficial for those suffering from epilepsy, schizophrenia, autism and autoimmune diseases.
Gluten is found in grains that we have normally eaten: wheat, rye, barley, and even spelt. Some authorities say that these grains are as addictive as sugar and can cause cravings that are difficult to control.
Quick to Make
- 100g Plain Flour, Gluten Free
- 1¼ cups Freedom Ancient Grains, slightly crushed
- ¾ cup Chocolate Chips
- ½ cup Coffee Sugar Crystals
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- 50g Butter, unsalted
- 150g Peanut Butter, Smooth
- 50g Tahini
- 150g Honey
- 1 Egg
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
- 50g Glacé Cherries
- With parchment paper, line a microwave friendly dish that is wide and has sides.
- Mix together all the dry ingredients in a largish bowl.
- Place the butter, peanut butter, tahini and honey in a microwave friendly bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring in between until all are melted and mixed together. Cool slightly.
- Add the vanilla and egg to the liquid ingredients and mix in well.
- Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and mix together well, then fold in the glacé cherries.
- Spoon the mixture into the lined microwave dish and smooth it towards the outsides of the dish. Place in the microwave oven.
- Cook on high for 3 minutes. Test to make sure it is cooked.
- Cut into bars and leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Turn out onto cake rack to cool.
Adding the Liquid Ingredients
One of the advantages of this recipe is that it is quick to make. If you are already on a gluten free diet, you will have most of the ingredients in your larder already.
Some hints for mixing the liquid ingredients:
- Although most of the ingredients melt quite quickly in the microwave oven, if they get too warm, make sure it is cooled before adding the egg or it will cook!
- You can lightly beat the egg before adding it, but if you're in a hurry, just mixing it in works well.
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Blending the Liquid and Dry Ingredients
While they are a little warm, the liquid ingredients are easy to blend in with the dry ingredients. It's best to be sure they are mixed before folding in the cherries, to ensure that they are not broken up as they are a delicious surprise when eating the bar later.
Finishing Off the Crunchy Bars
When the bars are cooked, it's best to cut them while they are soft before they cool. If this is done carefully, they do not crumble - but if they do, the crumbs are a bonus for the cook as they can be cleaned up as a snack!
Once the bars are cool, they can be stored in an airtight container. I usually put mine in the fridge - if they make it that far, but they can be 'finished off' before they get there as they really taste good. If they make it to the fridge and I'm very frugal, they may last a week. They're just right for a snack with a warm drink or for the lunchbox, too.
© 2014 Bronwen Scott-Branagan