Categories: Breakfasts, Desserts
Tags: Corn-Free,Gluten-Free,Low Sugar,Nut-Free,Soy-Free,Vegan
My dear friends, it has been way too long since I have been able to post. Life has been challenging and I needed to take some time to gather up my strength and more importantly heal. Things are getting better, slowly, but we are definitely getting there. It is a huge lesson to realize that most things are out of our control, and also to be reminded that some things are. This year has forced me to step back and focus on my own health. I had been having crappy digestive issues, and am still battling daily with it. So I started digging much deeper into nutrition and trying to figure out how to heal this sensitive gut. This led me to an elimination diet... right before Thanksgiving. I know, totally insane! I somehow managed not to kill any innocent people during this time, I will chalk that up to a miracle. I learned a lot from doing the diet. I learned that corn really messes up my stomach and gluten does even worse things. Sigh. I have determined that I can have soy in moderation, but I am still experimenting with it, so it may be temporary. So let's start with corn.... corn made me spend a ton of time in the loo (sorry TMI) for almost 2 weeks. Yay what fun. Gluten, the sworn enemy of many, I thought I was going to be fine with... wrong!
I had planned for weeks what my first gluten treat was going to be... Stuffing (hey it was the holidays)! I bought a frozen loaf of organic whole grain bread, thawed it, and cut it gingerly into cubes... Salivating the whole time. It got mixed oh so thoughtfully with sauteed onions and celery, etc, and baked lovingly until the top was just crunchy and the interior moist. I savored every single bite. Then weirdly, not more than an hour later my ears started to clog up and be painful. What?!?! Then the dizziness with a foggy head (although it's debatable whether that is normal for me), then a long headache followed by laying in bed the entire night with immense stomach pain. Sharp stomach pain. Then me and the toilet did our dance. It was so bad, that I haven't had a bite of gluten since (at least not knowingly). I did subsequently rule out the yeast as it did occur to me that it could have been an offender. So as a vegan who needs to eat both gluten and corn free (and for a long while soy free), it has been interesting trying to find recipes that are satisfying and tasty. This recipe is a life saver and is also low in sugar, we'll get into that another time. Truly one of the first recipes that made my want to cry tears of joy for eating something that felt normal and slightly indulgent. Sometimes we all just want to feel normal. Seems like a simple thing, but for way too many, not that easy a thing to feel at all.
These are divine with a hot mug of tea, and perfect for a snowy day. This recipe is adapted from Oh She Glows Toffee Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Bars. The changes I made were to drastically reduce the sugar and to make maple the superstar. You can find the original recipe here: Toffee Cinnamon Oatmeal Cookie Bars. I really appreciate that there are so many wonderful sites out there that provide hope and healthy options for all. Sending you all a hug and hoping that life has been kind to you and yours.
- flax egg mixture (1 TBS + 1 tsp ground flax mixed with 4 TBS water)
- 1/4 cup + 2 TBS coconut oil, softened
- 1/4 cup + 1 TBS coconut sugar (or brown sugar)
- 1 TBS maple extract, try to find a natural one
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour in the food processor
- 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 3/4 cup almond flour
- 1/4 cup + 2 TBS mini chocolate chips, divided
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper allowing paper to come up the sides for easy removal later. Spray the paper with non-stick spray after it is in place.
Make the flax egg by mixing the ground flax with water, stirring well, and set aside. Place the coconut oil jar (with lid on tightly) in a bowl with hot water for a couple minutes to help soften the oil. You want it softened but not melted. In a large bowl add the softened coconut oil and the coconut sugar. Use an electric mixer to cream the oil and sugar together until there are no lumps of oil left. Next, add the flax egg and maple extract, beat with the mixer until light and fluffy, about 1 - 2 minutes. Add baking soda and salt, and beat again to combine.
Add the oat flour, oats, and almond flour to the bowl. Use a spoon or spatula to thoroughly mix the dry ingredients into the wet, take your time with this. The batter will be very thick. If needed, you can add a teaspoon of water if it seems too dry. Stir in the 1/4 cup of chocolate chips, making sure they get distributed evenly. Scoop the mixture into the pan. Wet your hands with water and press the mixture into the bottom of the pan, making sure to get into the corners. Wet your hands as needed to keep mixture from sticking. Smooth out the top as best you can and try to make sure the layer is even. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on the top and gently press into batter. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes until the edges start to turn golden brown. Let cool in pan for about 15 minutes on a cooling rack. Remove from pan using the parchment paper and slice into approx 15 bars. Store these in the fridge or freezer if you need them to last more than a few days. Enjoy!