Roasted Carrot and Fruit Almond Oat Bars

Maybe these need a simpler name but I wanted to get across what’s in them.  What’s NOT in them is gluten and dairy!  And the only sweetener is a small amount of raw honey.  They’re very soft and really delicious!  Important note:  if you’re gluten-free due to medical necessity, make sure the oats that you use in this recipe are certified gluten-free, as not all oats are.  

There’s a little preparation that needs to be done before making them, but it’s all pretty easy.  These bars have protein and good nutrients, but they have no processed ingredients, no gluten and no dairy.  You’ll need homemade almond milk and oat flour.

I made homemade almond milk because: 1/ it’s simple, and 2/ the almond milk that is commercially available contains carrageenan, sugar and too many additives.  Maybe some stores sell pure almond milk without this stuff, but I can’t locate any.  The ingredient list on the almond milks in the dairy sections of most supermarkets is depressing.

To make almond milk, you’ll just need raw unsalted almonds (available at bulk bins at many grocery stores) and water.  If you buy raw unsalted almonds in a jar or can, just make sure that the only ingredient is almonds.  I just grabbed about a pound.  A half pound would do for this recipe.

Soak the almonds in plenty of water overnight (or for several hours at least).  Then drain and rinse them (discard the soaking water), and pulse them with fresh water in a food processor or blender until they’re coarsely chopped (about the size of large bread crumbs).  A good ratio of is about 2 cups of almonds to about 6 cups of water.  Most recipes call for a ratio of 1 cup almonds to 4 cups water but I wanted a slightly thicker, richer almond milk.  Empty that batch (almonds and water) into a large bowl and repeat until you’ve chopped all the almonds.  Then you’ll just need to drain the liquid into a container – that’s almond “milk”.  Important:  save the chopped almonds that are left after all the liquid has drained!  That’s almond meal, and it’s great to add to doughs and batters (pancakes, breads, cookies!).  Some people use a fine strainer (that’s good if you have a strainer with really small holes so the almond pieces won’t fall through), or a colander lined with cheesecloth.  The best choice, especially if you want to make your own nut or oat milks frequently, is to buy a simple nut milk bag (I bought an inexpensive and very well constructed one from Elaina Love’s Pure Joy Planet on Amazon, but many health food stores have them.  It’s less than $7 and well worth it!).

To make oat flour, I just used my coffee grinder.  A food processor or blender would do.  I used steel cut oats, but you could use regular oats.  Just give the oats a whirl until they look like flour!  Pretty simple, right?

Now you’ve done the hard part.  Let’s go on with the recipe.

Ingredients:

8 ounces carrots

2 cups almond meal

1 ¼ cups oat flour

1 ½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

¼ cup coconut oil

¼ cup raw unfiltered local honey (or pure maple syrup)

½ cup beaten egg (I combined a large egg with enough egg whites to make ½ cup)

¼ cup almond milk

1 cup dried cranberries or raisins or other fruit

1 apple, peeled and diced

 

Directions:

Roast the carrots in a 400 degree oven until lightly browned and tender.  Chop coarsely.  Turn the oven down to 350 degrees.

Combine the almond meal, oat flour, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.  Gently stir in the liquid ingredients until thoroughly combined and then mix in the carrots, apple, and cranberries or raisins.

Line a rimmed baking sheet (10 x 12 inches) or a 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper.  Evenly spread the batter in the pan and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until lightly golden.  Let cool completely and cut into squares.

 

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