My oldest has a lot of food sensitivities that impact his behavior etc. if it's not in the proper proportions or if he eats something he's not supposed to. He doesn't have to be GF per se but he is in a low carb and low sugar diet so he doesn't eat a lot of wheat, etc. He needs the snacks that will pack an energy punch but isn't over processed or include both soy & corn products in the ingredients. It's quite hard to find good snacks for him that fit the criteria for that as well as a 9 yo boys demand for something that actually tastes good. As you can imagine, that type of food doesn't always fit in a budget very easily and on my quest to find an easy budget friendly snack, I came across a GF blog that had exactly what I needed to get me started. I no longer recall what that blog was (I did try to find it) but I have changed the recipe slightly from when I started using it. What I love about this is that it's very easy to make and the variety is infinite. I've never made the same ones twice!
1Preheat the oven to 400 F and generously butter an 8 X 10 inch pan. Alternatively line it with parchment paper than extends up the sides of the pan about 1/2 of an inch or so.
2Toast your nuts, seeds and oats in the oven for a few minutes until slightly golden. Remove them from the oven and let cool for a minute or two while you start the glue that holds it all together.
3Combine honey and brown sugar in a small saucepan. (Since I make my own brown sugar, I'm lazy enough I'll often just throw my plain sugar and about 1 tbsp of molasses in with the honey instead of pre-mixing it.) Heat, while stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring mixture to a simmer for 1-2 minutes until the foam that forms is evenly distributed across the top (not long). Remove from the heat and add the vanilla. Stir. Add your chosen nut butter and stir briskly until lumps are gone and the consistency is uniform and creamy.
4While the sauce is simmering, combine the now cool nuts and granola. Also reduce the oven heat to 350 F at this time.
5Pour the nut butter mixture over the granola and nuts, stirring until it's evenly distributed. Add your dried fruit and stir well.
6Pour mixture into pan. Spread evenly and then press it down firmly into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 20 min at 350 F.
7Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before cutting. It firms up as it cools.
8Cut into bars (1" wide and 4" long). Wrap the bars wax paper and store in an airtight container on the counter until eaten. Enjoy!
9NOTE: I seem to remember these bars could last several days, but I can't say either way since they disappear very quickly at my house. Also, I have easily doubled this recipe and used a 9 x 13 pan. You'll have to cook it longer, at least 10 minutes or so, so you'll just need to experiment. Depending on ingredients used, oven time can vary. Also, the first time I made these I only had an 8x9 pan to use so the bars came out really thick (but yummy!). I also managed to overcook (not burn) because I forgot to turn the oven temp down. It was too crumbly for real bars but I still had large chunks. The kids gobbled it down like crazy. :D