15 July 2014

As promised

It's summertime, and I'm all for a no-bake treat when I find one. Perhaps you'd like one too, and don't feel like turning on your oven extraneously? A few posts ago we discussed amaranth when I tucked it into granola, and I suggested that if you find yourself with a bag the gluten free seed-like grain, you should pop it. Then a world of possibilities opens up, like that granola and these bars. 

Alegria, a crunchy, gluten-free (and come to think of it, fat-free) Mexican treat that, flavor-wise, manages to remind me of a much tastier version of caramel rice cakes. Only far more nutritious and wholesome. Molasses, a little sugar and salt, a touch of toasty nuts of your choice and a pan, are all you need to make these happen. Once you pop the amaranth, the bars happen within a few minutes so you'll want to work quickly. It only takes about 20 minutes or so for the mixture to set up before you slice the bars. You can vary the size of the bars depending on how much ingredients you have on hand or how much amaranth you feel like popping. Since they don't bake, you won't have to worry about adjusting times.

Alegria traditionally boasts pepitas, but I used cashews and almonds, chopped and toasted as that's what I had on hand. It's nice to vary up your snack bars. I can make batch after batch of these granola bars and I do, constantly, varying up the add-ins and we do not get bored of them ever because they are so good. But I firmly believe something is altered in the brain through a single act of branching out. And so, go forward, with Alegria. 

Oh and one more thing: I'm on the ShopRite Blog today with a post featuring Asian chicken lettuce wraps using a sesame garlic sauce from their line. Check it out!

Alegria recipe

1/4 cup Amaranth grains
2 Tbsp toasted seeds or nuts
1/4 cup Sugar
1/2 Tbsp Blackstrap Molasses

Line a baking pan with parchment paper. I used a 5x7

Heat a wide-bottomed pan with a lid over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tbsp of amaranth to the pan, cover and cook over medium-high heat until most of the grains have popped, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining amaranth, 1 Tbsp at a time. Add nuts or seeds to popped amaranth. Place sugar in an even layer in a deep pot over medium heat. The granules will slowly begin to melt. Add molasses. When molasses begins to boil steadily, gently stir or swirl to incorporate Sugar. Remove from heat and immediately add popped amaranth and pumpkin seeds. Stir well to coat.
Quickly transfer to pan and spread evenly. Immediately cut into bars, then cool completely and serve. Will keep a few days airtight.

**Update: When cutting the bars it's most likely you'll get a bit of crumbs/clusters. My advice? After getting your neatly cut bars, pour the crumbs/clusters into a jar and enjoy on yogurt for a snack or breakfast! 

1 comment :

  1. thanks for sharing your recipe and using amaranth as an ingredient! :) We are promoting the health and environmental benefits of amaranth. If you have 5 min., please read our recent press release:

    Please consider lending your voice to health and sustainability by RT/FAV our posts ❤️