These strawberry grain bars with zero processed sugar and a few nutrient-rich ingredients provide a healthy snack. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

These strawberry grain bars with zero processed sugar and a few nutrient-rich ingredients provide a healthy snack. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

On the strawberry patch: Baked goodness

Homemade grain bars with sugar-free jam offer a tasty snack for the pickiest of eaters

My twin sister’s golden-haired child shines like the sun. He is sweet and rambunctious, like most 6-year-old children are, and delights his family and teachers with his antics.

For a while when he was still not yet walking, I spent my days caring for him while his parents worked and went to school. I have sweet memories of his chubby cheeks stained pink from the fresh raspberries we picked together in the afternoon light, and of his tiny hand wrapped around my fingers as I sang him to sleep. We have a special bond and even though he’s not far, I miss him all the time.

He is also autistic, and so has many unique gifts to share. He perceives the world in his own way, and insists upon doing things his own way, which is sometimes a challenge, yet always fills me with pride. He does not fit a standard mold, he creates his own, and he will find his niche someday to rise to the greatness I know he is destined for.

He does have significant food aversions due to his sensory sensitivities, and lately he has rejected many foods offered to him. One food he will always happily accept is a strawberry Nutri-Grain bar, which is great for getting some much-needed calories in him, but the lack of good nutrition (and the excessive dose of refined sugar) is far from ideal, so my sister has asked me for a copycat recipe made with more wholesome ingredients.

These bars don’t look exactly like the ones from the box, but with zero processed sugar and a few nutrient-rich ingredients, they’re a snack any parent can feel good about making for their own little sunshines.

Ingredients:

1 cup oat flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons flax seed powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch salt

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

½ cup honey

¼ cup water

8 teaspoon sugar-free strawberry jam

Directions:

Blend together the oat flour, wheat flour, all-purpose flour, flax seed powder, baking powder and salt.

Stir the honey into the melted butter. It is easiest to do this while the butter is still warm.

Add the ¼ cup of water to the honey and butter and stir to combine.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and blend together. The mixture will be dry and shaggy.

Knead while adding water, one teaspoon at a time, until the dough comes together into a ball. The amount of water you need will vary.

Allow the dough to rest for 1 hour.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare a silicone mat on a baking sheet.

Roll your dough out to cover as much of the silicone mat as you can. You want the dough to be as close to a perfect rectangle as you can get it.

With a knife, cut the dough into 8 equal rectangles by cutting in half from left to right, then cutting in half top to bottom, then cutting each side in half top to bottom.

Spoon 1 teaspoon of jam onto the center of each rectangle.

Fold the sides of each rectangle to the center, overlapping slightly.

Pinch the tops and bottoms to seal.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, rotating the pan halfway, until the edges have darkened, and the dough is firm.

Allow to cool on the pan for 10 minutes before moving to a wire cooling rack. Do not serve immediately. The jam will be hot enough to burn for at least 10 minutes.

Wait until they are completely cool before storing or the condensation will make them gummy.

Eat or freeze within three days.

Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion 
These strawberry grain bars with zero processed sugar and a few nutrient-rich ingredients provide a healthy snack.

Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion These strawberry grain bars with zero processed sugar and a few nutrient-rich ingredients provide a healthy snack.

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