Fangirl’s Blueberry Bliss Bars

These blueberry bliss bars are soft and sweet and nutty. In the classic lazy baker method, they come together in a single bowl. GF, vegan, (paleo, I think) but no one has to know. Shhhh. Don’t think. Just bake.

Blueberry Bliss Bars (vegan blueberry bread)

A few months ago, y’all might recall I post a recipe for Simon Snow’s Sour Cherry Scones. These blueberry bliss bars are the pastry genesis of that recipe.

Allow me to explain.

(or simply scroll past the explanation to the recipe. I don’t blame ya)

Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is one of my favorite comfort books. I read it all the time, even if it’s just a bit here and a chapter there. Rowell’s Carry On, Simon came out of Fangirl (sort of).  The fangirl in Fangirl snacked on blueberry bliss bars while writing Simon Snow fanfiction. Fanfiction Simon snacked on sour cherry scones. So blueberry bliss bars churned out the writing that churned out the scones.blueberry bliss bars vegan gluten free paleo

Are you still with me?

Good. That explanation was complicated, but these bars are simple. One bowl kinda simple. Fewer dishes kinda simple. Your nana-made-it-with-a-lot-of-love kinda simple.

The bars are soft and sweet and nutty and melt magically in your mouth. If you adore a good blueberry muffin, you’ll love these.

They are made with almond flour.  Almond flour is an occasional ingredient for me, as opposed to a regular ingredient. I love the taste (my mom says that almond flour makes everything fantastic), but it’s too pricey and rich for everyday use.

Books, however, are always cause for celebration.

little purple wildflowers

Like warmer weather, and rain, and wildflowers and hot sweaty summers and almost being DONE with school. I still I have to take my Boards this summer, but for now, I’m ignoring my overpriced test prep texts in favor of other literature. Clearly.

Speaking of little bits of bliss, I still can’t get over Chewbacca lady.  💗

What small joys do you celebrate?

blueberry bliss bars gluten free vegan paleo

 

Fangirl’s Blueberry Bliss Bars

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Yield: 8-10 bars

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of very ripe mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 3/4 cup frozen blueberries
  • sesame seeds, optional

Instructions

  1. Combine bananas, maple syrup, flax egg, apple cider vinegar, almond extract, salt, and cinnamon. Blend well.
  2. Stir in the almond flour, followed by the baking powder. Allow the batter to rest for about 5-7 minutes.
  3. While the batter is resting, preheat oven to 350 and line a 8 x 4 loaf pan with parchment.
  4. Place the batter in the loaf pan and smooth it out.
  5. Swirl just over half of the blueberries into the batter. Smooth it out again.
  6. Sprinkle the remaining blueberries over top of the batter. Sprinkle on sesame seeds if you wish.
  7. Bake for 55 min - 1 hour, until it's nice and golden. The middle may not turn gold.
  8. Allow to cool completely before cutting.
  9. Serve with love. makes 8-10 bars, depending on how you cut them.
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Blueberry Bliss Bars Vegan Gluten Free

Blueberry Newtons (homemade fig newtons)

Blueberry Newtons (homemade fig newtons) vegan fig newtons gluten free fig newtons

So Jason is a bit of a tri nerd and he loves his tri podcasts almost as much as he loves buying bike gear.  Whatever.

Anyways, on one of these podcasts, someone mentioned fig bars, and all these other people started chiming in on how great fig bars are for bike workouts.   Jason immediately asked me to make him some. And I was like, “uhh….but you don’t like figs or Fig Newtons?” And then he clarified that he wanted raspberry, cherry, or blueberry newtons.

So I set to work. The filling came readily enough, because I’d made it dozens of times. BTW, you can also do these with raspberries….just follow the cooking directions for the blueberry filling and reduce the cooking time by about 1 or two minutes.

Blueberry Newtons (homemade fig newtons) vegan fig newtons gluten free fig newton

The dough was much more of a challenge. I was picturing a nutty newton, but Jason specifically requested something with lots of carbs and as little fat as possible. So I couldn’t use almond flour at all. I tried using all oat flour, but the newtons came out gummy and gross.

I finally chose buckwheat flour mix, which satisfied the nutty flavor I craved, but is far lower in fat than any nut meal.

The results were addictively fantastic. They’re soft and sweet and pillowy and filled to the brim with a homemade blueberry jam that won’t spill over when baking.

The only part that’s kind of annoying is that the dough likes to be chilled…..but I chose to consider chilling time as study time, so I could learn and cook at the same time.

This recipe make as generous batch of 24, but I doubt there will be a single one left by the time Jason has his next long bike workout. What? I gotta fuel my studies somehow.

Blueberry Newtons (homemade fig newtons) vegan fig newtons gluten free fig newton

Blueberry Newtons

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 22-24

The dough calls for a banana as the wet ingredient. Do not, under any circumstances, use an very ripe banana --- the dough will be super sticky and very hard to work. Choose a just right banana --- not too green and not too spotty and brown.

Ingredients

  • 14 oz frozen blueberries
  • 8 dates
  • 1 banana (1/2 cup purreed banana)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats, ground to fine flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Place the blueberries and the dates in a pot over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, stirring twice. Uncover, lower heat to medium, and continue to stir for about 3-4 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Puree till smooth.
  2. Scoop the blueberry filling into a zip bag for easy piping later on. Store in the fridge.
  3. Liquefy the banana with brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla.
  4. Combine the buckwheat flour, the oats, and baking powder, the baking soda, and the salt.
  5. Combine the banana mix with the buckweat mix.
  6. Chill the dough for at least an hour.
  7. Cut out 10 strips of parchment paper, 2.5 inches wide.
  8. Divide the dough into four equal parts, and shape into logs.
  9. Sandwich the logs in between two strips of paper, roll them flat (1/8th inch). Trim them up and roll the scraps between the remaining two strips of paper.
  10. Let them chill in the fridge again (the dough gets sticky fast), then remove the top layer of paper.
  11. Cut a 3/4 inch corner off of the ziplock bag where you've stored the blueberry filling, and pipe it down the center of the dough. I recommend keeping the dough strips in the fridge and only removing one at a time to pipe the filling on. Flatten the filling a little with a knife.
  12. Measure every two inches of dough and cut, then fold the dough over the filling.
  13. You can also fold, THEN slice, but I find makes for messier edges. Don't try to separate the cut parts -- you'll do that after baking, like a pizza.
  14. Preheat the oven to 350 and continue to chill the bars.
  15. Put the strips directly onto the baking sheet and bake for 10 min
  16. You can cut the bars right away (separate them) or wait until they've cooled a little.
  17. The bars will soften after a few hours, and this is when they start to get sooo good. Honestly, wait about two hours before taking a bite.
  18. Serve with love, makes about 24 bars. Keep in fridge in airtight container for up to 1 week.
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fig newtons recipe

Five Simple & Healthy Breakfasts

 

1. Blueberries, kasha, almond milk, brown sugar

Combine kasha, blueberries, and almond milk in a bowl. Sprinkle lightly with brown sugar.

 

2. Pineapple beet juice, avocado, egg, Sriracha

For the juice, combine 3 medium beets and half a pineapple in a blender. Puree and strain through a flour sack cloth.

 

3. Overnight Chocolate Chip Banana Bread Oats

I know overnight oats are so last year, but that doesn’t stop them from being delicious. Combine 1/3 cup of oats, 1 cup of unsweetened almond milk, pinch of cinnamon, 1/4 tsp vanilla, 5 chopped dates, and 1 tbsp chia. Allow to sit in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add in a banana and a small handful of chocolate chips. Enjoy.

 

3. Raspberry Kale Mini Smoothie

Combine 3/4 cup frozen raspberries, handful of kale, 1/2 cup almond milk, and honey to taste in a blender. You can make it heartier by adding a banana or peanut butter, but it tastes really wonderful and refreshing as is.

 

5. Popped amaranth, strawberries, honey

Tips for popping amaranth:

1.No matter how much amaranth you’re popping, it will go all over the stove. Save yourself the cleanup time by using a large pot with a glass lid. 2. Don’t use any lubricants such as oil or non stick spray.  3. Instead of stirring, shake the pot back and forth vigorously….just like if you were making popcorn 4. Amaranth can be finicky. Start of by testing a spoonful in the pot. If it doesn’t burn, you’re good. 5. Let the pot get really hot before you put the amaranth in 6. Let a little over half of the amaranth pop, remove from heat, and continue to shake. It will continue to pop and you won’t get as many burned bits.