Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Not-ri Grain Bars (Get It? 'Cus There's NOT Grain in Them??)

I was never a huge fan of Nutri Grain bars growing up. They just never excited me the way actual cereal did. Think about it--cereal had cool prizes in the box and cartoon character mascots. All Nutri Grain bars had were the shelf life of a McDonald's Happy Meal. They were the B snack at my grandmother's house when she was all out of Slim Fast bars--now THOSE were a delicious snack! But now, as someone who often avoids grains, refined sugar, and processed foods in general, Nutri Grain bars look like some kind of wondrous treat dreamed up by Willy Wonka himself. Cue the primal, gluten/sugar-free version:
I used an apple cinnamon filling to capitalize on the early apple season, and serendipitously discovered a new, even easier way to make applesauce (although this is still a great version).

These could easily be made with about a zillion filling options: blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, peach, pear butter, apple butter, fig, basically preserves or jam of any kind. When I try these again (and you can rest assured that I will!), I'm going to do a ginger pumpkin filling.
Fun fact: if you make these into smaller squares, they could pass as Fig Newtons, the Gretchen Weiners  to the Chewy Chips Ahoy's Regina George of cookies.
Though these do save perfectly well in an air-tight container for several days, both Kyle and I agreed they were best fresh from the oven. I didn't try popping them in the microwave the next day, but give it a shot for 10-15 seconds and that might help!

Not-ri Grain Bars (Apple Cinnamon Filling)
Recipe Adapted from Against All Grain
Makes about 5-6 bars

  • 3/4 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp flax meal
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp. Truvia (I'm giving this zero-calorie sweetener a try, but feel free to use honey or maple syrup if you're not into it)
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling
  • 3-4 large apples (I used Honeycrisp), cubed
  • 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. Truvia (again, feel free to use honey or maple syrup or nothing, if you prefer)
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder
  • 2 Tbsp water

1. In a large pot, combine apples, cinnamon, sweetener, arrowroot powder, and water and cook over medium high heat. Stir frequently until apples soften, about 10-15 minutes. 
2. When apples are tender, transfer to a food processor or blender and puree into an applesauce like consistency (it basically IS applesauce...feel free to eat it as such) and leave out to cool.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flours, flax meal, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt). In a smaller bowl, combine coconut oil, Truvia/sweetener, eggs, and vanilla extract.
4. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and combine with a fork until the dough just starts to come together.
5. Divide dough into two balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate the discs for 20-30 minutes.
6. Remove the discs from the fridge and lay between two pieces of parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, roll one disc out, about 1/4 inch thick.
7. Using a pizza cutter, cut the uneven edges of the dough off to create a large rectangle. Cut that rectangle into 5-6 rectangles (you could make about 10-12 smaller squares if you were going for Newtons). 
8. Transfer the dough strips onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Be careful as the dough is tender (if the dough does crack at all, just patch it up with your fingers--it'll be fine!).
9. Spoon about 1-2 Tbsp filling down the middle of the dough rectangle, leaving about a centimeter on the edge for sealing.
10. Repeat steps 6-7 for the second dough disc. Place these rectangle strips of dough atop the filling topped ones on your baking sheet.
11. Gently press the edges of the top piece of dough into the bottom to create a seal. You might want to dip your finger in a little water to help if your dough feels sticky.
12. Bake bars for about 12 minutes, until edges are golden brown.
13. Remove bars from oven and allow to cool on a wire cooling wrack for about 10 minutes. 


Sarah said...

THANK YOU for posting these. My transient college life is making paleo breakfast hard (because the last thing I want to do is cook at 6:30am) and I <3 almond pancakes but they're getting boring. This is such a great recipe and the perfect breakfast-y treat! They look so good!

when we wander said...

Ya know what, despite the fact that I found Nutri Grain bars totally not exciting as a kid, I still loved them for whatever odd reason. Except I was never able to eat just one. My fave was the apple cinnamon so now I'll definitely have to give these a try!

Jenna | The Eighty Twenty said...

They look so legit. Bravo! Was it time consuming? Should I make these for our upcoming trip to chicago to pack? Does airport security still steal your food?

Gayla said...

Those look tasty. I would eat that. However, if it is a "treat", it's going to need frosting. The thin drizzly kind that hardens into a transparent white shell. Then it would be perfect. In my mouth.

Blue Dog Belle said...

Great idea!!! Definitely going to try this soon!

xo, Emily

Corinne said...

I can't wait to make these! I may try an almond butter / apple butter filling, mmm!

The McDonald's Happy Meal thing is no different than if you made the burger and fries yourself and left them out on the counter. Check this page out:

GiGi Eats Celebrities said...

I love this version more than AGAINST THE GRAIN because you use stevia and no honey! WOO WOO!!!

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