[Post #82 for 100 days of Vegan, Gluten-Free, Portable Power Pucks]
Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you had a wonderful (first fall) weekend. It was still in the 90s here in Texas, but (gasp) I was able to wear a long-sleeve pullover to my son’s 8 am baseball game Sunday morning, and keep it on, all thanks to some early morning breezes. And beginning tomorrow, it’s a week of all 80s, which may sound sweltering to many, but shouts “Fall baking!!!” to me.
But until then, I have a no-bake option that I have been making while the temperatures remain high. I am certain it will excite you, regardless of the weather or any inclinations to bake.
It’s my Grain-Free, No-Bake, No Refined Sugar version of Clif Bars.
These look like Clif bars, and have the addictive, raw cookie dough texture of Clif bars, but…they do not taste like Clif bars.
They taste better.
The number one reason why? No soy protein isolate. If, in general, you dig the brown sugar-y, unctuous, cookie flavor of Clif bars, but hate the lingering aftertaste caused by this junky ingredient–as well as roasted soybeans and soy flour–then these bars will have you singing hallelujah(s).
I came up with a DIY version of Clif bars, made like the original with oats and puffed cereal (but no soy!), about eight years ago; it’s still a go-to recipe at our house all of these years later. But I’ve been challenging myself to develop more grain-free options here at Power Hungry, so I decided to develop grain-free rendition of Clif bars. Options make eating well so much simpler, and I love sharing them with all of you.
The fudgy dough-like base for these bars could not be simpler: canned chickpeas, soaked dates, and nut or seed butter. To replace the cereal component of the bars, I used the same approach as my last post for grain-free granola bars: pulverize coconut flakes, nuts and seeds into grain-size pieces.
The final step? Transforming the dough-batter into a firm, portable bar. The seeds and coconut bits add some structure, but to make these handheld snacks, I needed additional support.
My solution is twofold: coconut flour + flaxseed meal. Coconut flour helps to dry the dough (it is moist from the soaked dates, in particular), but using it alone made for a firm but ultimately crumbly bar. So I decided to decrease the coconut flour and add flaxseed meal, both for it’s grain-like consistency and natural oils (to keep the bars firm, but not dry and crumbly).
Everyone, we have a winner.
The recipe makes 10 bars, so in addition to being nutritious and delicious, these snacks are also frugal. You can press them into and 8 or 9-inch pan and cut into bars (cut the square in half, then each half into fifths), or freestyle it, as I did here: divide the dough into 10 equal portions and simply press into bar shapes on a piece of parchment or wax paper.
Alternatively, divide the dough into 12 pieces and press each into the greased/sprayed cups of a muffin tin, making them portable power pucks.
Here’s to a wonderful week, for all of us!
- 1 packed cup whole pitted dates
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup nuts or seeds (e.g., sunflower seeds, almonds, pepitas)
- ¼ cup creamy nut or seed butter (e.g., almond, peanut or sunflower seed)
- 2 tablespoons nondairy milk
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ¼ cup flaxseed meal
- 2 to 3 tablespoons coconut flour
- In a small bowl, soak the dates in enough warm water to cover; let soak for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, pulse the coconut and nuts/seeds in a food processor until chopped into small, grain-size pieces (they will not be unform in size--a good thing). Transfer to a large bowl.
- Drain the dates and place in food processor along with nut/seed butter, milk and vanilla. Process until smooth. Add the drained chickpeas. Process until smooth, stopping to scrape down the bowl several times. Transfer mixture to bowl with chopped coconut mixture.
- Mix the date mixture and coconut mixture util blended. Mix in the flaxseed meal and 2 tablespoons coconut flour. If mixture is not stiff enough for bars, stir in an additional tablespoon of coconut flour.
- Divide dough into 10 equal portions and shape into 10 bars on a parchment lined baking sheet. Chill for at least 30 minutes until firm.
Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freezer for up to 3 months.
Variations: Customize these all you like! For example, add ¼ cup miniature chocolate chips or chopped dried fruit along with the flaxseed meal. For gingerbread bars, add 1-1/4 teaspoons ground ginger and ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (as well as some chopped candied ginger, if you like).