Maple-nut cookie bars

Maple-nut cookie bars

This post was created in partnership with Bob’s Red Mill.


I had zero intentions of coming here with a gluten-free version of this recipe today, but here I am with cookie bars that are chock-full of almond flour, coconut flour, and an assortment of starches. And here I am telling you that I finally discovered what’s been causing my GI distress: gluten.

I was in denial for a long time. I thought for certain it was my gelatin supplement (because that stuff can be pretty difficult to digest) or my massive increase in protein (I recently started eating one gram for every pound of bodyweight) (I’mma tell you all about my journey into heavy weight training very soon), but nope – it was the glutens. THE GLUTENS. I spent a couple of days feeling sorry for myself because BREAD IS LIFE, THOM. HOW AM I GOING TO LIVE WITHOUT GLUTENOUS BREAD? But after a few days of zero GI issues, I realized the relief I felt far outweighed a life with gluten. I also realized I wasn’t doing anyone any favors by sitting around and wallowing in self-pity (right Thom?), so I put on my big girl pants* and dealt with my new sensitivity like an adult human. And you know what happened? These cookie bars.

(You know what else happened? The stars aligned and my pal Heather announced that she’s launching the Gluten-Free Baking Academy on 1 March.) (!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Not only are these bars flavorful and delicious, but the texture is surprisingly delightful – the latter of which I attribute to the new paleo baking flour from Bob’s Red Mill. One of my biggest complaints about gluten-free flour blends is that they’re just too damn starchy. And when you don’t add eggs to the equation, too damn starchy can be pretty difficult to work with. But this blend? It’s not even the slightest bit starchy – despite containing both arrowroot starch and tapioca flour – thanks to almond flour and coconut flour, both of which help to balance out the harsh texture that otherwise starch-heavy flours lend to baked goods.

What I’m trying to say is that the paleo baking flour makes for next level vegan/gluten-free baked goods. And for those of you who are trying to eat healthier in the new year, I replaced the cane sugar with pure maple syrup. I wouldn’t call these bars “healthy” (if you want healthy, eat a freakin’ carrot) but there’s no denying that they’re not completely terrible for you. Or that you’d be far better off accidentally eating half a batch of these instead of half a box of Girl Scout cookies.

*I don’t know why I said “big girl pants” because it is literally one of my least favorite phrases.. ever.


Some housekeeping notes:

I rounded up all the things that make the OLC kitchen go ’round.
You can finally print recipes! And you have Mimi to thank.
The evolution of this recipe was a lot less terrible than I thought it would be.
And no – OLC is not going GF. I will – on occasion – endure an intestine-ache for a good chocolate chunk cookie. Or double chocolate brownie. Or slice of our boozy Irish wedding cake.

Paleo baking flourBob's Red Mill paleo baking flourMaple-nut cookie bars in the makingMaple-nut cookie barsMaple-nut cookie barsMaple-nut cookie barsMaple-nut cookie barsC H O C O L A T EMaple-nut cookie barsMaple-nut cookie bars

Notes: This recipe can easily be doubled and baked in an 8-9″ square baking pan. Baking time shouldn’t be more than 6 minutes longer. If you’d rather use agave or coconut nectar in place of the pure maple syrup.. please don’t. The flour scoops heavy (even when fluffed with a fork) and I wound up with considerably more than what the package declared as the weight for one cup. For dense bars (these are on the crumbly side), omit the almondmilk. For sweeter bars, replace the almondmilk with up to two additional tablespoons maple syrup. If you want to add nut butter to this recipe, you can add up to 1/4 cup so long as you add a couple extra tablespoons of flour.

This post is sponsored by Bob’s Red Mill, the employee-owned grain company that’s committed to providing good food for all. All opinions are my own and I think Bob’s Red Mill rules. 

MAPLE-NUT COOKIE BARS

1/2 cup (100g) unrefined coconut oil, melted (but not hot)
1/2 cup (140g) pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons (28g) unsweetened almondmilk
1/2 teaspoon (3g) maple flavor
2 teaspoons (6g) pure vanilla extract
2 cups (270g) Bob’s Red Mill paleo baking flour

1 1/2 teaspoons (6g) baking powder

1/2 teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
1 cup mix-ins, divided (below)

Mix-ins
Dried fruit (cherries, cranberries, banana chips, etc.)
Chocolate (cacao nibs, dark chocolate chunks, white chocolate chips, etc.)
Flaked things (rolled oats, coconut flakes, sea salt flakes, etc.)
Nuts/seeds (dry roasted peanuts, hazelnuts, hemp seeds, etc.)
Crunchy things (coffee beans, kasha, brown rice crisps, etc.)

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a 5×8″ baking pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with oil; set aside. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, maple syrup, almondmilk, and maple extract. Add the flour, baking powder, and sea salt and mix with a spatula just until combined. Fold in 1/2 cup of mix-ins then spread batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle remaining mix-ins over top (use more if desired). Bake at 350˚F for 30-32 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow bars to cool in pan before slicing. Store in an airtight container. Will keep at room temperature for up to three days or in the freezer for a few weeks.

Yield: 8 bars


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Maple-nut cookie bars

25 Comments

  • Reply Ashley 9 February 2017 at 7:48 AM

    What!? These are so easy!!! Yaaaas! Can’t wait to make them! The flaked sea salt you added on top was perfection. And those mega chocolate chunks. SO GOOD.

  • Reply dixya @food, pleasure, and health 9 February 2017 at 8:09 AM

    aw man. i hope you can find a GF-pizza crust that you will love because pizza = life. im glad there are amazing flour blends and gf-baking wizards that make gf living so much more doable. i love your phrase on if you want healthy, eat a carrot. im about to write a post to share how vegan, glutenfree, or paleo doesnt necessarily always mean healthy. vent over. bye now :)

  • Reply Natalie Harney 9 February 2017 at 9:48 AM

    These look so good! The perfect treat to pair with my afternoon cup of tea

    – Natalie

  • Reply Sophie 9 February 2017 at 9:58 AM

    I want to make these.

  • Reply Joyce @ Sun Diego Eats 9 February 2017 at 11:21 AM

    love that despite this epiphany OLC is refusing to go GF! you are a badass #resist (gluten??)

  • Reply Hillary 9 February 2017 at 11:51 AM

    You have no clue how happy I was to see this recipe pop up in my feed today. I was recently disgnoased with Hashimoto’s and was told to lay off “the glutens”. I was devastated at first but have since learned that I can consume tiny amounts of gluten just fine. It has definitely been a liftstyle adjustment but the silver lining is that a tray of cookies isn’t nearly as tempting as it used to be.

    Do you know where I can find the paleo baking flour? I just called my local Whole Foods and they don’t carry it.

  • Reply DessertForTwo 9 February 2017 at 1:05 PM

    First, I love this small batch serving size! Second, booooo gluten! I’ve had some issues lately and experimented with cutting out dairy. I was SO VERY SAD about it, but I added it back in and feel fine, so PHEW. Gluten is next. UGH. HELP.

  • Reply Chelsea | Baked Greens 9 February 2017 at 1:18 PM

    These are GORG. I need to get my hands on some of Bob’s paleo flour, ASAP.
    Also- so sad about your gluten issues! A life without crusty bread is a sad life indeed. But…maybe start with sourdough and see how you feel? Some crazy witchcraft happens with the wild yeast and the wheat proteins that makes them more easily digestible. A few of my coworkers react badly to gluten but never have issues with sourdough. The same might be true of a long ferment for homemade bread (like the 12-24hr rise of no-knead bread). So, all isn’t lost!

  • Reply Nicole 9 February 2017 at 1:19 PM

    What’s a “small” baking tin?

    • Reply Ashlae 9 February 2017 at 1:42 PM

      Hi Nicole –

      Thanks for the catch! Forgot to measure it this morning. ;) It’s 5×8″ and has been updated in the recipe.

  • Reply Van 9 February 2017 at 1:41 PM

    YES!! Gluten free has made a huge difference for me. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply valentina | sweet kabocha 9 February 2017 at 2:45 PM

    Ok, these bars look delicious but I’m so sorry for your gluten sensitivity! I’ve been almost completely gluten-free for maybe 2 years – everybody was telling me that my healthy issues were caused by it – and then I realized that it was so wrong! Thank god I can eat my sourdough every day and nothing has changed since I changed my diet in “worst” :P

  • Reply Pia 9 February 2017 at 4:12 PM

    Oh no! So sorry to hear about your gluten news, although I’m obviously also happy about it, because it means being discomfort and pain free. Nevertheless, it’s a bummer. But I’d like to think that there’s a good side to it, too. What? Well, it’s pretty much bound to make you have to try different, maybe new to you, products as well as ingredients and foods when out and about that you otherwise very like wouldn’t have opted for. It’ll also mean figuring out new ways and switching it up and whatnot, all of which means learning (that’s always a good thing) and probably discovering your love for things you otherwise wouldn’t have experimented with, tasted or stumbled upon. So, let’s try to rock those “big girl pants” :P and look for the positives and the opportunities this slight turn might provide. xxx

  • Reply Carlos At Spoonabilities 9 February 2017 at 7:08 PM

    The cookie bars looks so delicious and thank you for this incredible recipe.

  • Reply Jana du Plessis 9 February 2017 at 11:55 PM

    Ohmycrap. It’s like every recipe you create is made knowing exactly what kind of treats I like! Now I just need to get over the hurdle of shipping flour to South Africa to not cost an arm and a leg…

  • Reply christine / my natural kitchen 10 February 2017 at 9:18 AM

    I feel your pain with the gf thing. Have you tried the Bob’s Red Mill gf pizza crust mix? I find it works really well with a flax egg and it tastes really good/handles easier if you give it a day in the fridge after mixing it up, if you can plan for that. These cookie bars sounds great, and I am interested in checking out the paleo mix!

  • Reply Molly 10 February 2017 at 11:07 AM

    I love Bob and his Red Mill! We went to the Mill when we visited Portland a few years ago, and it was like the baking mothership. My fiance has some serious GI problems and, after years of avoiding all manner of baked goods, we’ve found that pretty much the only wheat flours that work for him are Bob’s whole wheat varieties (high fiber FTW). He’s pretty happy to be back to eating cookies and biscuits and waffles. (I’ve actually noticed some improvement in my own [less sensitive] digestion, so BONUS!) So, yeah Bob’s Red Mill for life.

  • Reply karine 10 February 2017 at 4:14 PM

    Just made these using all purpose flour and trail mix for the mix-ins, and they are DELICIOUS! So easy to make and so lovely with coffee. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Reply Randle 11 February 2017 at 7:33 AM

    Agh Ashlae so sorry about your newly discovered gluten sensitivity. This is kind of how I felt when I stopped eating dairy for 2 weeks and realized I felt better. It was like NOOO but also FINALLYYY I don’t have to feel terrible!! Luckily you’re a baking god so I don’t think your sweets intake will suffer if you cook with less gluten. ;)

  • Reply Niki 11 February 2017 at 8:49 AM

    This recipe looks amazing!!! I’m so sorry to hear about your sensitivity (bread seriously = life). I’ve found for my sensitivities sprouted wheat and spelt are my go-to bread products for day-to-day eats, leaving the white bread (French loaves, pizza crusts, etc) for once every week or two treats. Hopefully you’re able to find a balance that works best for you without feeling deprived.

  • Reply Ashley 11 February 2017 at 2:52 PM

    Making these after I finish this damn elimination diet! Luckily, they are pretty allergy-friendly =)

    Glad you have discovered what is making you sick. It can be quite a process. Why most bread be so delicious??? Very much looking forward to upcoming GF recipes – you’re like a mad scientist/baking goddess, so I know your gluten free treats will be outstanding =)

  • Reply Dana @ Dana's Edible Affair 12 February 2017 at 11:07 AM

    Oh DANG this look delicious. I’m totally making these when I am back in town. Garbanzo bean flour is super for CC cookies, you can’t even tell the difference.

    Side note: what gelatin sub are you using? I have not been having any luck finding one that I like!

  • Reply Heather Crosby 13 February 2017 at 1:14 PM

    These look amazing! So happy you have some answers to work with—it’s the glutens! I have no doubt it will only lead to more creative new recipes for all of us to drool over. :*

  • Reply Gemma 13 February 2017 at 4:35 PM

    I feel you Ashlae! Gluten can be a damn bitch sometimes…but who can resist to a freshly baked rustic loaf?! Not me! :-p But I do have to be careful with gluten and certain saucy/oily foods.
    These bars look so good! My stomach is growling, too bad it’s past midnight and I can’t go buy the ingredients I need…otherwise I’d be baking these babies right now!

    xo

  • Reply Rachel 14 February 2017 at 11:25 AM

    These look awesome! I’ve been looking for something to bake tonight, and these are high on my list.

    I ran into issues with gluten when I was 20. Due to weird lactose experiments my parents performed on me (maybe our lactose intolerant child will get used to lactose if we just keep making her drink milk and eat cheese with every meal!! [wrong! that’s not how genetic food intolerances work!]) I had one messed up GI system.

    Thankfully, about six or seven years without gluten, I was able to eat gluten again with basically no repercussions! Maybe that will happen to you, maybe it won’t, but going gluten free was a good motivation to learn to bake with new flours and explore entirely new cuisines that don’t rely on wheat.

    Stay cheerful! Thanks for this awesome looking recipe <3

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