In the early, narrative chapters of my newest cookbook, Gluten Free Classic Snacks, there’s a whole section on “Ingredients and Substitutions.” I talk about everything from dairy-free substitutions for dairy ingredients to how to swap out refined sugars for unrefined ones. Since each of the recipes in the book is a “copycat” recipe, we use plenty of refined sugars. If you want the precise taste and texture of the original, packaged snack, that’s what it’ll take. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t go in another direction, which is why the book provide tons and tons of guidance on how to do just that. So when I decided to create a recipe for Yogurt-Coated Gluten Free Chewy Strawberry Granola Bars, I went for it: I cut way, way back on the refined sugars (the confectioners’ sugar in the yogurt coating is the only kind, since there’s no unrefined confectioners’ sugar!) and even replaced the gluten free flour blend with almond flour. The result?
Not only gorgeous, but seriously delicious. Plus, these gluten free granola bars aren’t baked, which makes them pretty ideal for continuing to make as the weather gets warmer (perfect to pack for a quick refueling during the spring sports season!). If you really want to make things easy on yourself, you can skip the first step of toasting the gluten free rolled oats and coconut chips. But it really really helps intensify the flavor and improve the texture of both. Plus, it’s a really low-temp oven (just 275°F), and only about 7 minutes until they’re done toasting.
There are a few ways to make a yogurt coating, but I went with the easiest way: Greek-style plain yogurt + melted butter (or coconut oil, if you like) + confectioners’ sugar. The only potential substitute for the refined confectioners’ sugar is Swerve Confectioners’ Style Zero-Calorie Sweetener, which works amazingly well, but it doesn’t come cheap, I’m afraid.
What’s that you say? You’d like an even thicker yogurt-coating? Well, then double-dip of course! Not in the gross Seinfeld-style way, but in the way of dipping the bars in the yogurt coating, allowing them to sit until nearly set, and then dipping them again. But the coating won’t set as firm, and you will probably need to keep the bars refrigerated until you’re ready to serve them. And if you were hoping to make these with more conventional ingredients, like all sorts of delicious refined sugars and without the almond flour, turn to page 234 of Gluten Free Classic Snacks. I’ll meet you there. :)