Wednesday, 2 December 2009

my recipe for apricot & almond snack bars (gluten free, sugar free, high protein)

I posted a recipe for honey and apricot flapjack the other day, but mentioned that I don't eat them as I can't digest oats.  I have been playing around with my own recipes for gluten free bars but I haven't been really satisfied with anything I had made until now!

As a bar goes, these are light, cake-y in texture yet really filling and so very useful as snacks during the day, or to put in lunchboxes.  They are naturally gluten free and sugar free as well as containing no added fat and really high protein levels which will also make them good for pre- or post gym snacks.  They are vegan as long as you use pea or soy protein isolate.  You can find pea protein isolate from Pulsin' in the UK here with superfast delivery, alternatively stores like Holland & Barrett in the UK should stock it.  In the states you buy a non-GMO version here (I haven't ever bought from this company so I can't recommend them).
To some people's tastes these will not be sweet enough without adding some sweetener.  I didn't but it's up to you.  One 45g bar contains 139kcal without using any sweetener in the recipe, that statistic might persuade you to omit it!  Did I mention how filling they are? I ate one for breakfast 4 hours ago and I am still not at all hungry and even better, there is no sugar high or low as this contains protein and slow release carbs instead of sugar.
This recipe is a useful one for people who can't eat xanthan gum.  You can make these using ready-ground seeds and nuts if you have them which will save you time.  I haven't found any sources of freshly ground seeds, so as seed flours turn rancid quickly I still grind my own. 
I have found that buying a coffee grinder has soon paid for itself as seed flour is so much more expensive than raw seeds. Even if you are grinding your own seeds these are still quick to make and you can have these in the oven inside 15 minutes.  The bars will freeze fine and can be popped into a lunch box straight from the freezer.  Not only will they defrost by lunchtime, the chill will keep the rest of your lunch cool!

Apricot and Almond snack bars

  • 200g chopped apricots
  • 175g chopped dates or figs (or a mix)
  • 175g boiling water
  • 150g blanched almonds
  • 70g pumpkin seeds
  • 60g hemp seeds (de-hulled) or sunflower seeds
  • 60g linseeds (flax)
  • 50g dried pineapple or mango (or other slightly acidic fruit)
  • 30g whey / soy or pea protein isolate
  • *honey, agave nectar or sweet freedom (if required)
12" x 9" x 1" baking tray, lined with non-stick paper + coffee grinder or mini chopper + food mixer/processor (or strong arm!) + oven

  • soak the chopped dates in the boiling water in the bowl of your mixer or food processor (if you have one)
  • grind the almonds in the coffee grinder to make a fine fluffy flour (do small batches of about 50g at a time to get a fine grind)
  • repeat the process with each of the seeds in turn
  • finely chop the pineapple or mango
  • beat the date and water mixture for 2 mins until you have a thick and slightly aerated paste
  • add the vanilla extract & the apricots and mix briefly to combine
  • add all the nut & seed flours and protein isolate
  • mix to make a thick paste and taste, sweeten if desired (I didn't sweetened mine at all)
  • tip into lined baking tin and spread evenly across tin
  • bake at 160° C for 30 minutes
  • remove from oven, let rest in tin for 10 minutes before lifting out on baking paper and placing on cooling tray
  • cut once cold, mine made 20 bars
To store: wrap and store in fridge or freezer (since they are unsweetened they will grow mould if left in a warm environment).  If storing in fridge eat within 7 days.  For frozen bars, wrap well & eat within 3 months.


  1. these sound very interesting Kate, thanks for sharing! might be just the thing my hubby needs, altho I'll prob have to add some honey for his sweet tooth. I don't need vegan, so may opt for whey protein, would I find that in a health food store? Don't have a coffee grinder, can i do the seeds in the small bowl of a processor do you think? I really struggle with breakfast, but these do appeal to me, so I'll definitely be giving them a try. THANK YOU! x

  2. Hi Charlotte.
    This is the kind recipe you can play about with, using different combination of fruits or whey or soy protein instead. I have even used some of the flavoured shakes which have the same effect (i didn't like the sweeteners though). The small bowl of a processor would be fine, but lots of health food shops sell ready ground seeds which you can store frozen once opened. My freezer has been too full for this, that is why I grind my own.

  3. How about date syrup - are you able to eat that?

  4. Choclette, that is a great idea! I could eat date syrup and will certainly give it a try. I use pomegranate molasses to especially when i am looking for a touch of fruity acidity to balance the sweetness. I really like the date puree that I use here or with figs in my panforte recipe

  5. yum - sound great - am going to try x