Grain-Free Nut and Seed Energy Bars

There’s no gluten, dairy, or processed sugar in these energy bars. In fact, no grain at all. My son spends a lot of time in the woods and wanted me to come up with something that could withstand being tossed in a backpack, but he didn’t want any sweetener or grains. (I know. I think he was a changeling, I really do.) I lobbied for a small amount of honey to make the bars sturdier but kept it to a minimum. And do you know what? These are good! Really good. The chia and honey work together to glue all the yummy nuts and seeds together. I also added some dried cranberries and blueberries.

For my first attempt, I used a three-seed mix of chia, hemp, and flax. There wasn’t enough chia to hold it all together well, so I tried again, added more chia, and got it right.

Baking times may vary a little, depending on how thin you spread the mixture, and on your oven. My oven doesn’t hold heat once it’s turned off. It has a fan that blows the heat out, which is a little annoying when I try to make meringues or crackers (things that I want to dry out slowly). So you may have to play with the timing a bit. I also wanted these pretty dry and crunchy; you can give them a shorter bake time if you want them softer.

You’ll probably want to hit a natural-foods market for ingredients. The recipe uses quite a variety, and you can usually buy small amounts in bulk there. Of course, once you’ve tried these you may go back for larger quantities.

Nuts, seeds, fruit, and honey

Grain-Free Nut and Seed Energy Bars
Makes 20 large bars
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup flax seed (or flax/hemp combination)
  • 4 cups chopped nuts (I used walnuts, pecans, almonds)
  • ½ cup dried fruit (I used cranberries and blueberries)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 325 F. Cover a large baking sheet with an 11½ x 16" Silpat (or parchment)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the water and honey.
  3. Add seeds and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. It should get thick.
  4. Add nuts and fruit and stir well.
  5. Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet, It will tend to get thicker in the middle, so try to smooth it out so the edges are the same thickness.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip the bars over. (Either place another silpat and a baking sheet on top and flip the whole thing over, then cut into desired sizes - or cut into bars and flip each one over. Return to oven.
  7. Reduce heat to 250 F. and bake for an additional hour. Without opening the door, turn off the oven and let the bars sit until cool. (They should be firm. If not, you can bake for additional time at 250 F.)

Stir seeds into water and honey. Let them thicken up!

Add nuts and fruit and stir well

Spread evenly onto silpat or parchment

You may want to have another baking sheet ready. After it’s baked for 30 minutes, it needs to be flipped over. You can place another baking sheet on top and flip (then cut bars and put it back in the oven) or cut bars and flip each one over before returning to the oven. Whichever seems easiest to you. I’m a “flip the whole mess over at once” kinda gal.

See? Wasn’t that easy? Now you can have a healthy snack whenever you need a pick-me-up. Put this on your calendar, because you won’t see something like this on my blog very often.



Gluten-Free Berry Pecan Muffins

GF muffins watermarkedShamed Challenged by my daughter to try a gluten-free muffin, my wheels started turning. I can’t say I was excited by the idea (my idea of a breakfast pastry includes butter, white flour, and sugar) but decided to give it a try…and was surprised and pleased by the results.

I used buttermilk and honey, so this isn’t vegan, but it is a lot healthier than my usual creations, and unexpectedly light and fluffy!

Use whatever fruit you like. I put chopped strawberries and blueberries in mine, but will also be trying these with raspberries and chopped banana in the near future. If you toast your pecans before adding them, it will boost the flavor factor immensely.

I also have a thing about toppings on muffins – more is better! For the sake of keeping these reasonably healthy, I toned that down a bit and just put a tiny amount on each muffin before baking. You can simply sprinkle them with finely chopped nuts and cinnamon if you prefer, or leave them plain. (Here I go…can’t help myself: a drizzle of simple powdered sugar icing would be lovely too!)

Gluten Free Berry Pecan Muffins
Makes 12
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup berries (if using strawberries, chop them coarsely)
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ⅓ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • STREUSEL TOPPING (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped pecans
  1. Heat oven to 375 F.
  2. Place foil or paper liners in 12-cavity muffin pan
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  4. Add berries, orange zest, and chopped nuts. Stir to combine.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, honey, and vanilla until thoroughly combined.
  6. Add melted coconut oil, whisking briskly, and immediately pour it into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Stir just until combined.
  7. Divide between 12 liners. They will be generously filled.
  8. Combine all of the ingredients for streusel, if you are using it. Press gently onto each muffin.
  9. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted in the middle of a muffin.
  10. Move pan to a cooling rack and let them cool a bit before eating.
Add fruit and nuts to dry ingredients

Add fruit and nuts to dry ingredients

add liquids to dry ingredients

Add liquids to dry ingredients

Add a little topping if desired, and bake.

Add a little topping if desired, and bake.


Vertical watermark3No, I haven’t exactly turned over a new leaf, but I have to admit I’m a little more open to the whole gluten-free idea after this success. For now, though, I have this idea. This truly decadent idea that is screaming to be made into reality, and will be posted soon. One step forward, two steps back I guess!