Best Granola Bars

These Granola Bars really are the best. They are gluten-free and vegan with no refined sugar and plenty of energy boosting ingredients, plus they are super tasty.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

Happy New Year! I am kicking off this year’s recipes with an old favourite of mine, my very Best Granola Bars, which have yet to feature on the blog. And now seems the perfect time what with all the good intentions abounding.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

2018 is an exciting year, I’m at a place in my life where I am happily surrounded by children and babies. Not counting my own new arrival in April, several of my closest friends are pregnant and expecting in the first quarter of the year. And since most of my gifts, birthdays, Christmas or otherwise usually have a food theme, they can expect a batch of these Best Granola Bars to be materialising on their doorsteps during those first few days home from the hospital.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

I started making these Best Granola Bars for my friends with newborns as I found they are absolutely perfect for the snacking that is an essential part of this time. Whether keeping up energy levels during middle of the night feeds, or when you can only cope with food that requires one hand since the other is occupied with your new bundle these Best Granola Bars are ideal. They are also pretty useful for offering to the plethora of guests clamouring to see the new baby or your hungry toddler who is a little disgruntled that your attention is now split with another child.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

When I first had Cole the food I was eating got totally out of control, it was cake, chocolate and biscuits morning, noon and 2am. At a time when you are supposed to be looking after yourself for the sake of your newborn it’s absolutely impossible as tiredness takes over and everything within you is poured into looking after your new baby. Food is way down on your priority list after nursing, changing nappies, burping and sleeping but you really need some organic energy to keep you going. By the time Cole was a few weeks old I had graduated my eating habits to shop-bought granola bars but there are all sorts of hidden ingredients in them and although a better choice than biscuits they are not really that good for you either. All the ingredients in these Best Granola Bars are meant to satisfy, keep your hunger levels at bay and promote your energy whilst tasting pretty delicious.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

I’ve put all my favourite seeds and nuts into this bar to boost up the protein. There is crunch from the chia seeds, almonds, pumpkin seeds and puffed rice. Chewiness from the dates and bags of taste, amped up by a little cinnamon and vanilla extract. Almond butter and coconut oil help to bind and there is no refined sugar, just the dates and a good splash of maple syrup.

I ate these Best Granola Bars for a lot of 2017 even without a newborn to look after. It goes without saying that you don’t really need a child to appreciate them, just an empty tummy that is looking at a vast empty chasm before its next meal.

Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)

Print Recipe
Best Granola Bars
Best Granola Bars are gluten-free and vegan with no refined sugar and plenty of energy boosting ingredients, plus they are super tasty.
Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
16 Bars
Ingredients
  • 225 g gluten-free rolled oats
  • 100 g whole raw almonds roughly chopped
  • 70 g pumpkin seeds
  • 60 g gluten-free puffed brown rice cereal
  • 40 g chia seeds
  • 40 g ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 175 g coconut oil melted
  • 150 g almond butter
  • 120 g pitted medjool dates
  • 75 g maple syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Prep Time 20 minutes
Servings
16 Bars
Ingredients
  • 225 g gluten-free rolled oats
  • 100 g whole raw almonds roughly chopped
  • 70 g pumpkin seeds
  • 60 g gluten-free puffed brown rice cereal
  • 40 g chia seeds
  • 40 g ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 175 g coconut oil melted
  • 150 g almond butter
  • 120 g pitted medjool dates
  • 75 g maple syrup
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
Best Granola Bars (gluten-free, vegan, refined sugar-free)
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl throw together the oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, puffed rice, chia seeds, flaxseeds, cinnamon and salt and mix well.
  2. Pour into a blender, the coconut oil, almond butter, dates, maple syrup and vanilla extract and blend on high for a couple of minutes until the mixture is thick and caramel-like.
  3. Stir the blended mixture into the dry ingredients and mix very well until all the dry ingredients are completely coated. You may have to dig in with your hands at this point.
  4. Tip the granola bar mixture into a lined and greased 9 inch square tin and press very firmly into the tin with your hands until good and even.
  5. Place in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  6. Remove from the tin and cut into bars.
Recipe Notes

Keep the granola bars in the fridge where they can reside happily for up to 2 weeks.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops

The current heatwave in London necessitates the need to cool down by whatever means. We Brits may not built for this weather, but that’s when these Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops come into play.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}

I love it when a recipe is as intuitive as this one was. I spend ages deciding over which one of my recipes I should post here next. Too long. In fact I spend more time fluctuating between whether I should post my new layer cake, or maybe that granola bar recipe which I have been slaving over this past week than actually making, photographing or writing about any of my recipes. Haven’t I just posted a layer cake last week. Is it really granola bar season? I need to just pick one and go with it.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}

Or just let the recipe choose me. Yesterday morning Cole and I made these Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops (Ice lollies? Popsicles? I spent a good half hour deliberating over that one too) in 10 minutes as he sat on my kitchen top repeating, “Whatssat?”
“Mango, darling.”
“Mango Mummy…..Whatssat?”
“Mango, darling”
“Mango Mummy…..Whatssat?”
You get the picture.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}

I had been wanting to make ice lollies for days to cool us both down in this incessant heat. Our tiny victorian railway cottage has taken on the form of a casserole pot, trapping all the heat in and braising us in our own juices. By 3pm after Cole has woken up from his lunchtime nap and I have calmed him down from the injustice of being cooked in his sleep, then spending any time actually doing anything rather than chucking ourselves into the nearest paddling pool is inconceivable.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}

Yesterday morning though, as I scoured the fridge for breakfast food I came across a long forgotten mango which still looked pretty good. Not a moment later I declared lolly time and with glee Cole watched as I dragged the blender over. He loves helping with the smoothies so blenders get a fine welcome in our kitchen.

I peeled and chopped the mango, prompting the above conversation, threw the flesh into the blender along with a tin of coconut milk for healthy fats, a bit of almond butter for healthy protein and a teaspoon of turmeric, thereby warding off any form of horrible disease which may be winging its way in our future direction.

Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}

I forgot momentarily that toddlers don’t understand the concept of patience so Cole was quite indignant that we couldn’t enjoy them right away, and I realised my mistake over making such a hoopla about making lollies, the indignance threated to topple into something more when I extracted his sticky little hands from inside the filled lolly mould. However it was all made better when I poured him out a little leftover smoothie mix into a cup and he could stick his hand into that instead. It was a fine choice making them in the morning though as it meant that by yesterday afternoon when Cole awoke from his nap I earned Mother of the Year by presenting my grumpy little gnome with the perfect icy treat for surviving this blistering heat. I had one too, and we enjoyed them whilst splashing around in the paddling pool.

Print Recipe
Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops
These deliciously cooling smoothie pops are full of good fats, protein and a teaspoon of turmeric.
Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
8
Ingredients
  • 1 mango
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
Prep Time 10 minutes
Passive Time 8 hours
Servings
8
Ingredients
  • 1 mango
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons almond butter
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
Mango Turmeric Coconut Smoothie Pops {vegan}
Instructions
  1. Peel the mango and cut the flesh into rough cubes.
  2. Place in a blender with the rest of the ingredients and whizz until smooth.
  3. Pour carefully into ice lolly moulds and freeze overnight or at least 8 hours.

If you want smoothie pops that look like mine then you can buy the Norpro Frozen Ice Pop Maker from Amazon. I have been using mine for two summers now and love it. It comes with some wooden sticks when you need more they are also easy to buy from Amazon.

If you want to know what blender we use which provokes such a raucous response from my son then it’s the KitchenAid Artisan Blender. I smashed the glass jug once so we were without it for a couple of months before I got my act together to buy a new one. The cheapo blender we used in the meantime did not compare. I was so happy to get my blender back. I’ve had it for years and use it nearly every day.

The images above are affiliate links which means if you decide you want to use these links to buy your ice lolly maker or blender then Amazon gives me a small commission at no cost to you whatsoever. I will only recommend products I use in my kitchen and love. It’s just a way for me to fund my shopping list so if you do click through then many thanks!!

Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}

These Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins are fluffy, generous and richly flavoured. What’s more they are vegan and gluten-free to boot.

Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}

I have found myself getting more and more interested in vegan baking. It began at the farmer’s market when the usual vegan cake stall took a few weeks absence and I was inundated with requests for vegan cakes in the interim. Being a free-from baker naturally lends itself to such enquires and I welcome them. I love a project and removing eggs and butter from the equation certainly challenges an enthusiastic baker.

Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}

I myself am not vegan, although these days I do try to avoid dairy. From childhood I have always had a problem with milk, claiming drinking it made my ‘ears pop.’ I don’t know what that means now, in fact my nursery teacher didn’t know at the time either and I have horrible memories of being forced to zap the stuff up through a straw from little milk bottles, sitting in a torturous circle with the other children. My poor childhood trauma. It seems since having Cole though (two years ago this week!) my dairy intolerance has increased. So vegan cakes and dairy-free cakes have started to hold more interest for me.

Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}

Experimenting with non-dairy, no egg cakes has been fraught with failure. I mastered a Chocolate Almond Butter Fudge Cake for the stall quite quickly, which I’ll be sharing the recipe of soon, but some vegan customers at the stall always seemed disappointed when a chocolate cake was the only vegan option.

Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}

It seems bananas are the next step in vegan baking, combined with the peanut butter here they bind the cake together well without the need for an egg substitute like a chia or flax egg. In fact the crumb is so fluffy that the sponge is a bit of a revelation. There is a fair amount of leavening used with the baking powder and bicarbonate of soda but that doesn’t bother me and the effects can’t be tasted.

Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}

I do love a muffin with a hearty streusel so here I have gone haywire with chopped banana chips and salty peanuts. I always make the streusel topping for the muffin first and then place the topping in the freezer to firm. This helps the streusel from sinking into the muffin when it goes into the oven and retain a crunch. If you leave the streusel in the freezer for too long don’t worry at all, just chop roughly with a knife or pulse quickly in the food processor to loosen the crumbs.

Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}

The Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffin is also gluten-free. I chose sorghum flour, which is demanding in its presence but its earthy tones pair well with the bananas and peanut butter so it doesn’t overpower the cake but blends nicely. It’s included in my current favourite combo of gluten-free flours, sweet rice flour, millet flour, potato starch and tapioca starch which together create a lovely texture for the muffin and are a good base for the sorghum flour to shine.

Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}

Creating cakes which are gluten-free, vegan but can also pass muster with friends, family and customers who can eat anything is actually brilliant fun. So far I have been rewarded with some truly outstanding cakes and although the blog itself isn’t going to turn vegan anytime soon, I will definitely be including more vegan recipes in my repertoire.

Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}

Print Recipe
Banana Peanut Butter Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}
Fluffy, generous and richly flavoured Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins
Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
15 large muffins
Ingredients
  • 140 g sweet rice flour
  • 100 g sorghum flour
  • 80 g millet flour
  • 40 g potato starch
  • 40 g tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 240 ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 2-3 bananas about 200g
  • 125 g peanut butter
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 120 g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the streusel
  • 45 g sweet rice flour
  • 30 g sorghum flour
  • 25 g millet flour
  • 25 g caster sugar
  • 25 g soft light brown sugar
  • 40 g dried banana chips roughly chopped
  • 40 g salted peanuts roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 90 g coconut butter*
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
15 large muffins
Ingredients
  • 140 g sweet rice flour
  • 100 g sorghum flour
  • 80 g millet flour
  • 40 g potato starch
  • 40 g tapioca flour
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 240 ml unsweetened almond milk
  • 200 ml olive oil
  • 2-3 bananas about 200g
  • 125 g peanut butter
  • 120 g caster sugar
  • 120 g soft light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the streusel
  • 45 g sweet rice flour
  • 30 g sorghum flour
  • 25 g millet flour
  • 25 g caster sugar
  • 25 g soft light brown sugar
  • 40 g dried banana chips roughly chopped
  • 40 g salted peanuts roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 90 g coconut butter*
Banana Peanut Butter Streusel Muffins {vegan, gluten-free}
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 160°C and line a muffin tin with muffin cases.
  2. First prepare the streusel by whisking the flours, sugars, banana chips, peanuts and cinnamon together. Rub the coconut butter into the dry ingredients until you have achieved a rough crumb.
  3. Spread the streusel out onto a lined baking tray and place in the freezer whilst you prepare the rest of the muffins.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and set aside for a moment.
  5. Beat together the almond milk, olive oil, mashed bananas, peanut butter, sugars and vanilla extract.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well.
  7. Divide the batter evenly between the cupcake cases then sprinkle over the streusel topping.
  8. Bake for 25 -30 minutes, or until an inserted cocktail stick comes out clean.
  9. Remove the muffins from the muffin tin straightaway and cool on a wire rack.
Recipe Notes

*coconut oil, solidified. If your kitchen is especially warm then refrigerate the liquid coconut oil to solidify.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

I like to think of myself as a pretty easy eater. ‘I will pretty much eat anything’ I will self-righteously declare to all and sundry. But if you dare to serve me breakfast then you’ll generally find I throw a sudden and unpleasant temper tantrum.

You see in my opinion breakfast is the worst. An amalgamation of all my least favourite things to eat; some because I am intolerant – gluten, oats and to a lesser extent dairy and some because I outright think they are heinous devil foods – eggs, mushrooms and baked beans.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

So I have this horrid dichotomy of always waking up starving but delaying my body food until a more palatable meal comes my way, say lunch (although I am not averse to having lunch or even dinner for breakfast if I am feeling especially wanton).

Then, as the adverts say, I discovered protein shakes. Not smoothies, with endless helpings of fruit which dive me headlong into a sugar crash before 9am, but a less sweet and more nutrient packed shake. These take mere moments to prepare, just slam everything into the blender and whizz up, which I then consume whilst feeding Cole, clearing up his breakfast and getting him dressed. They are the ultimate fast food and don’t contain any ingredients that make my body want to heave – which can only be a good thing.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

Whether you already have all these ingredients to hand depends on your love for health food shops. I am a bit of a health food junkie, in direct contrast to my cake obsession, and relish every nutrition fad going which means these shakes certainly don’t wuss out on that front. They are full of avocado, kale, banana, almond butter, chia seeds, hemp powder, flaxseed and of course matcha green tea powder and what made them an absolute winner for me was when I doused the whole lot in coconut water for liquidity. The result is creamy and refreshing and has been the perfect start to my day for a few weeks now.

Every ingredient in these Matcha Protein Breakfast Shakes has their place and are each filled with the most excellent health benefits, which you can google all about, plus because I have based the shake around protein, which you can find in the almond butter, chia seeds and hemp powder, it is so filling and satisfying.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

The star ingredient in this breakfast shake though is the matcha green tea powder which I have been experimenting with as an ingredient, mainly in my baking, for a while now. It has such a unique flavour that becomes quite addictive. I have found though that various brands have different strengths and at the moment I seem to have quite a strong one in my larder. So I only used one teaspoon of matcha powder here but certainly feel free to add more if you are not getting enough matcha through for your tastes. Or if you haven’t had matcha before then one teaspoon is certainly a good place to start. If you’re not sure where to get this or any other of the ingredients in the list start with amazon which stocks everything you need. The only other endorsement I can give this recipe is this – it has definitely made breakfast time a much happier place for me to be; meaning less temper tantrums.

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

Matcha Protein Breakfast Shake

1 large shake

1 banana
½ avocado
25g kale (1 large handful), blanched
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 teaspoons ground flaxseed
3 teaspoons hemp protein powder
1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder
250ml coconut water
3 ice cubes

  1. Bung it all in the blender, blitz until smooth and away you go!
Matcha-Protein-Breakfast-Shake