I am allergic to all nuts, especially peanuts, most beans and, kind of randomly, eggplant and rhubarb. I have been in anaphylactic shock twice, and I’ve had numerous close calls–taking Benadryl, drinking a ton of water and hoping I won’t have to spend the night in the hospital. When I was growing up, I was the only person I knew with food allergies. It seemed so rare. But, sadly, it turns out I was harbinger of the food-allergic kids to come.
Since it is food allergy week on The Family Kitchen, I am happy to be focusing on this issue, and offering up some easy recipes for families with food allergies. Living with food allergies can be challenging and scary, especially for children. Which is why homemade granola is such a treat. No worries about potential allergens, just wholesome, gooey, delicious granola, with a little chocolate thrown in the sweeten the deal.
Because of my allergies, you can rest assured that all Brooklyn Supper recipes are nut-free. Coconuts and pine nuts are the only true nuts I can eat, everything else is out. Feel free to sub out the coconut, or sub in nuts. Homemade granola is about having the exact thing that you want. These bars can be a little crumbly, so be sure you let them cool as long as possible before cutting them up.
Nut-Free Granola Bars (adapted from Two Cooks One Kitchen)
2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds, chopped
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds, chopped
1/4 cup flax seeds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (fresh grated if you have it)
1 cup honey
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup dried fruit (I used cherries and raisins) chopped
1/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Spread the oats, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds on a cookie sheet and toast for 15 minutes. Meanwhile combine the honey and butter over medium heat. Add the vanilla.
Grease a 9 x 13″ baking dish well. Turn oven to 350 degrees. Combine the oat and butter mixtures in a bowl. Fold in the fruit and coconut, and then sprinkle in the salt. Press into the prepared baking sheet. Then evenly distribute the chocolate and press into the oats. Cook for 30 minutes, or until the granola starts to turn golden brown on the edges.
Remove from oven. Cool completely–6 hours or more–and cut into large squares.