Oil Free, Sugar Free, Orange Creamsicle Granola Bars, Vegan, Gluten Free
Creamsicles. Remember them? Soft vanilla orange sherbet bars on a wooden stick.
I tried my darnedest to recreate that summertime favorite in these bars, minus the sugar and dairy. Another bonus? These bars will not melt on a summer afternoon. Crunchy, toasted nuts. Sweetly gooey dried fruit. A punch of orange flavor from both zest and juice. Don’t forget the vanilla, it is what smooths out the orange flavor and brings the nostalgic taste of creamsicles to the table.
Mornings were peaceful, softy murmuring affairs in my family. We were puffy eyed, puffy haired sleep-walkers who applied eye shadow with one hand while we sipped coffee with the other. Softly treading in brightly colored Afgani socks while the sun rose through frost-hushed windows in our third flood walk up.
Except for those rare mornings where one of us woke on the wrong side of the bed with nervous energy strumming though us. That energy caught like wild fire dancing over the tips of a dry forest. I remember one such morning. Now here is the beauty: I remember the end but not the start. I remember the apology but not the harsh words spoken. I remember the hug but not the door slamming. Okay maybe I remember the door slamming. What I wouldn’t give to hear that door slammed today by those hands.
“Be careful, Reb Yakov . . . words, once spoken, are like little dybbuks . . . they dance around. They cause all kinds of trouble!”
To make a long story longer (as my dad would say): My mom and I fought that morning as only a mother and daughter can. Fast and furious.
I left for school. The whole day I was a jangled bundle of discord. An untuned piano concerto played by cats ran through in my heart.
This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
– William Carlos Williams
I arrived home my steps slowing the higher I rose on the stairs. I leapt up the four wooden steps of the back porch ready to hurl myself at my mom. Up the first long staircase my steps slowed as I rehearsed my apology. Up the last set of stairs my feet slowed to a crawl. My feet were like lead, my head bowed as I dragged my way up.
A spool of purple, magenta, gold, indigo, hot pink, green swirled from the top step. What the heck? I looked up and at the top of the steps stood my mom with a bright smile on her face and worry in her eye. She had spent the whole day knitting an “I’m sorry” scarf. It was a six feet long tapestry of all her most flamboyant yarns including gold and silver.
We fell into each other arms crying with relief.
So these granola bars? Suffice it to say I spoke without thinking last week to a friend who was visiting. I don’t knit. And so these granola bars were created.
To get a super duper orange flavour I found that the bigger the orange zest the better. My favorite was long thin strands made with this julienne peeler. I use instead of a spiraliizer. Look how pretty you can make veggies.
Gluten Free, Citrus infused, Nutty oat bars of yumminess that leave you feeling right with the world.
- 3 cups Rolled Oats
- 2 cups nuts, I used a mix of Macadamia, Almond and Cashew toast them if you have time for extra flavor.
- 1 cup dried fruit, I used apricots and cherries but any will do chopped if needed.
- zest from two oranges, or use the julienne peeler recommended above for a more assertive orange taste.
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1/2 cup aquafaba, liquid left over fro cooking legumes, see above the recipe for my link to my Aquafaba page.
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 4 pitted dates
Heat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
I used a s 9 X 15 inch pan. If your baking pan is not non stick then line with parchment or lightly oil.
Chop your nuts and fruit.
Place your oats, nuts, citrus zest and dried fruit in a large bowl.
In your blender blend the rest of your ingredients flax through dates. Blend until you have a smooth thick liquid and then pour over the oats and nuts. Massage through and allow to sit five minutes.
Press the mixture into your baking pan, really getting into the corners. I place a sheet of parchment or plastic wrap over the top and press down on that with a short rolling pin or can of beans so the whole thing is really smooth and compressed. This helps the bars stick together.
Bake for one hour in the middle rack. Remove form the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing or they will crumble. Alternately you can break it into chunks and use as granola.