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The Lunchbox Season's High Iron Granola Bars

Each of these gluten-free bars contains 3.6 mg of iron!
Author: Roseanne Carrara, The Lunchbox Season

Ingredients

  • 1/3 c blackstrap molasses [28.8mg iron]
  • 1/3 c honey [3.2 mg iron]
  • 1/4 c almond butter [1.78mg iron]
  • 2 mashed ripe bananas [.44mg iron]
  • 2 large eggs [1.2mg iron]
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • .5 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom [optional nutmeg makes a good swap]
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp orange blossom water [totally optional]
  • 1/2 c almond flour [substitute with pulverized oats if that's more convenient]
  • 2 1/2 c gluten free oats [10.5mg iron - we used Bob's Red Mill]
  • TWO CUPS OF MIXINS! WE USED...
  • 1/2 c pumpkin seeds [4.2mg iron]
  • 1/2 c chopped apricots [3.25mg iron]
  • 1/2 c chopped cashews [5mg iron]
  • 1/2 c chopped dates [.75mg iron]

Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 350.
  • Line a 9x13 cake tin or baking tray with a piece of parchment that extends over the 13-in sides of the pan [for easy lifting of the bars] and butter or spray any exposed edges of the tray.
  • In the bowl of a mixer or by hand, combine the molasses, honey, and mashed bananas. [Be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl, as the molasses tends to settle quickly to the bottom.]
  • Add the eggs, vanilla, salt, spices, and [optional] orange blossom water, stirring until combined.
  • Add the almond flour [or pulverized oats] and oats and stir until combined.
  • Add the two cups of mixins and stir until well incorporated.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes.*
  • Remove the pan from the oven and allow the bars to cool in the pan for about 15 minutes.
  • With the bars still slightly warm in the pan, slice into 16 equal sized bars.
  • Remove the sliced bars IN THEIR PARCHMENT to cool on wire racks.
  • Now, if the bars look a bit too soft for your liking, or if you just prefer a crispier bar...after slicing [or even after the bars have cooled completely] slide the bars off of the parchment and onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for another 10-20 minutes [or even longer], turning the bars over to bake face-down halfway through your bake.
  • Finish by cooling the bars without their parchment on wire racks.

Notes

*The bars are dark, so it is difficult to give a sense of what to "look for" in terms of doneness. You will want crispy but not burnt edges. These bars are also moist, so don't be afraid to bake for a bit longer. Alternatively, you may crisp by double baking as above.