Friday, June 6, 2014

Gluten Free/Paleo Friday ~ Almond Butter Bars (& Summer Stuff)

Happy Friday! We're still sort of inching toward summer here in New England, and so it's only about 65 degrees this morning, but it's sunny, and that makes ALL the difference. Robert is off to physical therapy for his back which has been in constant and fairly severe pain since December. (Pray for his healing if you think of him!)  Kory and Cooper are off helping an older couple in town move into a new house as well as various lawn mowing jobs.  Kayla and I are about to do some "summer Algebra I" (much to her dismay) in hopes of keeping her skills up and lightening her workload in the fall, and then we will get ready for a bit of a girls-hang-out party tonight with her friends ~ pancakes for dinner, a craft, a movie, games, and sitting around the fire pit.

Cooper will be up bright and early for "SAT round 2" tomorrow, and Kory will start his third summer job at Subway. We've been replaying Tim Hawkins' "I Work At Subway" video to celebrate the answered prayer of not just one, but THREE summer jobs!  He's working at American Eagle (lots of discount perks!), at Subway (where he'll be tortured with the smell of fresh bread that he can not eat on a perpetual basis), and for a mom from our church who needs various household and lawn tasks done 2-3 times per week. Hopefully now he'll be able to support his own college habits in the form of Chuy's fajitas and Common Grounds blended drinks and maybe even buy a textbook or two.

Now, on to one of our very favorite recipes these days...

These almond bars are just so good, and I can't take any credit whatsoever for the recipe.  My friend, Lois, introduced me to the Unrefined Kitchen blog, and to these "Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Blondies."  The sad thing is, that shortly after she passed along the recipe to me, she had a serious reaction to all nuts, and can no longer eat them. (Be warned: too many nuts in your diet can cause this to happen. Stick with only an ounce or two a day!)

I'm pretty sure I've made at least one batch, and oftentimes two per week since last September. When I traveled to California in October to see my brother, sister-in-law, and my new, adorable nephew, I made them two batches (Rachel was on a semi-paleo diet), and left her the recipe.  My brother texted me a few weeks later with a picture of the recipe I left behind and told me that Rachel had been making batch after batch, too. These really hit the spot with lots of protein, healthy fats, and a touch of sweetness. Post-partum mamas take note.
The only things I've done different from the original recipe, are to double it, add an egg, and some cashew flour. The cashew flour is not necessary at all, but since Trader Joe's just happens to carry it, I decided to try a 1/2 cup in the recipe and see what happened.  I think it may lighten and moisten the texture just a bit.

We tried to keep the deliciousness of these bars a secret, but the kids caught on.  For a while they were just "Mom and Dad's Paleo bars ~ gross!" but after Kory tasted them over Christmas break, I ended up sending several college care packages to Baylor with these bars included.  Great brain food, for sure!

Almond Butter Bars

2 1/2 cups almond flour/meal (I use 2 cups almond/1/2 cup cashew)
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
dash salt (optional)
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened/melted
2/3 cup honey (can be less)
1/2 cup almond butter
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/2-2/3 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine nut flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a medium bowl.  Add almond butter, coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and eggs and stir until thoroughly combined.  Spread into a medium sized baking pan ~ mine is 8x11.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the top is very slightly browned and an inserted toothpick or knife can be removed clean.


melissa daniels said...

Ahh-- the famous bars! We will have to try them out this weekend!!

It's already waaay too hot here in Tejas! Wish we could share the New England summer temps with y'all. ;)


Anonymous said...

Looks like Jack will have a new goodie to enjoy!!! Thanks for the recipe, Mel. Love, K&J

Melanie said...

Thanks, Ladies! Sorry about the heat, but I was VERY tempted to get in my car and just drive until the sun was shining. Cold, grey skies are so difficult to STILL be dealing with in June!