Monday, June 10, 2013

Gluten Free Double Layer Bars

Being a food blogger and nutritionist, I get approached by a decent amount of companies looking for me to review their products. My personal philosophy is that whatever I review, I have to try myself, and I never guarantee a glowing report of anything or accept monetary compensation (I do, however, expect samples of said products). That said, I have had a great time playing around with one of the new stevia products on the market: Pyure Bakeable Blend

This all-natural, almost calorie free (2 kcal/tsp) formulation is similar to granulated Splenda in that it is incredibly lightweight and "bulked up" with maltodextrin. Maltodextrin is needed in cup-for-cup substitutes like this because the stevia is so sweet on it's own that a single teaspoon equals two cups of sugar... just without the volume that cookies and cakes need for structure. That said, the bakeable blend is not identical to sugar in behaviour. It does not hold moisture the same way, nor does it "trap" air bubbles in fat like the real stuff. In fact, it behaves exactly like Splenda does, just without the crazy chemicals and strange aftertaste.

I wanted to see how the characteristics of the blend held up on their own, without adding another sweetener (as I usually do, and still suggest for anything "cakelike"). I figured a bar cookie would be a good way to go, and when I found a rich, dense, chocolate concoction on Blueberries and Blessings I was smitten. Pam's Dark Chocolate Black Bean Cookies are not only gluten free, but they used one of my favourite "secret weapons" in the kitchen: beans! A few tweaks turned it vegan, had it use pureed yellow peas and become 100% sugar free. Then I got the lazy bright idea to do away with the whole "drop" cookie idea and make bars. But not just chocolate ones. Double-layer bars, with blondies on top of brownies, each layer with a handful of extra treats like chocolate chips, vegan butterscotch and cherries!
Gluten Free Bean Cookies (Double Chocolate)Gluten Free Bean Cookies (Butterscotch-CranRaspberry)

The finished dessert is unreal. Dense, chewy, moist and sweet, with the barest hints of coconut flavour and nuttiness from the peas. I decided to use yellow peas instead of the more usual chickpeas after using NoNuts Golden Peabutter and finding that it had a subtly nutty, pleasing flavour that wasn't anything near "beany". The peas are the same ones you'd find in French pea soup (one of my favourite meals)!

Gluten Free, Stevia Sweetened Two-Layer Bars

Shared with Wellness Weekend , Allergy Free Wednesdays and Sugar & Slice Sunday

Gluten Free Double Layer Bars
Makes 12

Chocolate Layer:
1 1/2 cups (8.7 oz) cooked whole yellow peas (or chickpeas if you can't find the yellow peas), pureed
2 1/2 tbsp Dutch process cocoa powder
1 tsp Homemade Egg Replacer + 2 tbsp warm water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil (or vegan margarine)
1 tbsp tapioca starch
1/4 cup Pyure All Natural Bakeable Blend Stevia Sweetener (or 1/2 cup granulated sugar)
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips
 
Blondie Layer:
1 1/2 cups (8.7 oz) cooked whole yellow peas(or chickpeas if you can't find the yellow peas), pureed
1 tsp Homemade Egg Replacer + 2 tbsp warm water
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tbsp melted coconut oil (or vegan margarine)
1 tbsp tapioca starch
3 tbsp coconut flour
1/4 cup Pyure All Natural Bakeable Blend Stevia Sweetener (or 1/2 cup granulated sugar)
2 tbsp chopped dried cherries
2 tbsp vegan butterscotch chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9" pan with parchment.
  2. In a bowl, beat together all the "chocolate layer" ingredients until well combined.
  3. Spread in the prepared pan and set in the freezer to firm up while preparing the top layer.
  4. In another bowl, beat together the "blondie" ingredients until well combined.
  5. Spread onto the chilled chocolate batter in an even layer.
  6. Bake for 28-30 minutes, until a tester comes out with moist crumbs.
  7. Cool completely before cutting.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 109.6
Total Fat: 5.7 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 89.9 mg
Total Carbs: 13.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
Protein: 2.7 g