Who’s got the snack snackities? That’s great, me too! Don’t worry, I’ve got ya covered today.
K, so you know how they say “you can tell a lot about a person by…….fill in the blank“? Well, you can tell a lot about a someone by the items in their shopping cart.(Hehe, this is one of the great things about having a huge family, you’ve got more people to pick on because no matter what category your talking about there’s probably at least one of us who fits.) In this case it’s my mom.
I’m not saying that you can read into people’s deepest thoughts by this or anything, but you can at least tell their hunger status. You can definitely figure out Mom’s hunger status by the items in her shopping cart. I mean, this could probably be said about a lot of people, but it’s sort of become an agreed fact among us that Mom should never shop when she’s hungry.
She’d tell you this herself, if she shops hungry she ends up buying the most random items and they are always things she wouldn’t normally pick out. On one of her recent trips to the store she stumbled into a clearance on some gluten free products so she came home with a variety stuff even though gluten allergies are one of the few things that my family doesn’t have.
I have learned to really appreciate different diet restrictions though. I think I’ve cooked for people with all types of them by now, vegan, gluten free, dairy free, low this, low that…… Basically, I see that it’s a really good idea to be skilled at all of it in case of emergencies. For example, I’m not (and I don’t ever plan to be, sorry guys) a vegetarian, but I have friends that are and I love to cook for them. Also, I honestly enjoy cooking without meat sometimes, I feel like it makes it easier to focus on the veggies and I love that. But anyway, one of the gluten-free products Mom bought was brownie mix.
I know, what? I love her to death but I was like “Um Mom, have you ever met me before, you’re food blogger daughter? Brownie mix, really?” I don’t think I’ve used a mix for anything in years but once she brought them home we realized why they had been clearanced, they were almost past the date. Confession: I have this pathological need to make sure pantry items don’t go to waste. Plus, I’ve got way too much curiosity for my own good and I wanted to see what a gluten-free brownie mix was like as-is so I just made them. I can’t deny I felt a little tinge of smugness when everyone was saying they weren’t nearly as good as mine, but I was also surprised how much I liked the texture from using mostly rice flour and it got me inspired to play with the rarely used bag of it in the cabinet.
I’m finally getting to the recipe guys, sorry. One more tangent though, did you know pb&j sammies aren’t something that’s common outside the States? In fact, they’re really weird to most of the world. A friend of mine from here in Chile had never even heard of one (poor thing). I didn’t eat very many growing up but when I did I was always on team more-J-than-PB and Liv was always more-PB-than-J. Which are you on?
I don’t even remember the last time I ate a pb&j but the flavors have been on my brain for some reason so I mixed that craving with my rice flour inspiration and turned it into a copycat version of the nutri-grain breakfast bars that my the gang and I used to love. They’re kinda like double sized fig newtons too…..only……. with pb!
These are pretty simple to make and I went through multiple test batches before finding my fave version. The first rice flour dough I tried was the best tasting but it was just too crumbly to work with so I had to change a few things. Then the second time was better but I had added too much liquid which made them get tough and dry when baked. In this case I’m hoping the third time’s a charm. I found a happy medium between the first two doughs that is great to work with but also bakes into a soft, minimally crumbly, crust. Like I mentioned a second ago, I’m not vegan materialat all so I like using dairy and real eggs in baking. I’ll admit, I really thought the egg white version would be better. That’s why I was really surprised by the fact that literally everyone who tried them, even the boys, liked the vegan ones better. Both versions are good though, so try them both and decide for yourself.
The filling can be switched to whatever flavor you want, I even tried apple, which wasn’t everyone’s thing but Brock and Sophie really liked it. The sweetness is up to you because you can almost get away with not adding any sweetener to the filling, but it’ll depend on your taste.
I know most of you can go out and buy cereal bars similar to these from the huge selections at your grocery, but guys, the satisfaction of homemade ones is so worth it. These don’t have any of the ad stuff and you have complete control over how sweet to make them and what you add.
- 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal+
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 egg white
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/3 cup agave or honey
- 3/4 cup rice flour
- 1/4 + 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch, plus more for work surface
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- dash of cinnamon (optional)
- 1 cup of your favorite brand of all fruit jam or jelly mixed
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 cups fresh berries *see note
- 2 tablespoons agave or honey (optional)
- 3 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Heat oil in a medium to large saucepan over medium high heat and add berries. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to soften. Add the lemon juice and sugar and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer, still stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes until it has begun to thicken. Whisk cornstarch and water in a small dish until smooth, then pour into pan and stir well as the filling begins to thicken. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- If using flax "egg", combine the flaxmeal and water in a medium mixing bowl and allow it to set for about 10 minutes to thicken. Add the peanut butter, syrup (or honey), salt, vanilla, and baking powder to your egg white or "egg" then stir until combined. Mix in the cinnamon, cornstarch, and rice flour until the mixture forms a thick dough. (It may seem a bit dry at first but as you continue stirring it should come together.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and line a baking tray with parchment or silicone pads. On a clean surface spread a small amount of cornstarch and scrape your dough out with a large rubber spatula. Roll out half of dough into a rectangle roughly 1/8 inch thick. cut into strips about 3 1/2 inches wide and use a pastry bag fitted with large tip (or just a spoon) to spread filling in a straight, 1-inch wide, line down center of strips. Fold one side over filling and brush with water, then fold other side to overlap and press down gently to seal. Cut strips into bars and place (fold side down) on baking tray. (P.S.If you need more visual guide you can check out my fig newton recipe which has some step-by-step photos. Just double the length you cut them if you want these full-size bars.)
- Bake for 10 - 12 minutes or until edges are golden. Remove from oven and cool before serving.
*Use your favorite berry or a mixture; raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, etc. You can use other fruits for the filling such as apples or stone fruit as well, just puree them in a food processor or blender with 1 cup of water before cooking and you will only need about 1 1/2 cups (about 3 medium apples).