I love to make these and take them with me on trips so I have something I can eat that is gluten free but still contains protein. So many of the hotel chains have a free breakfast...but not usually anything I can eat. Rather than ruin the free breakfast for everyone else I'm traveling with...I just bring some of these breakfast bars and fruit and I am good to go! I have GF protein bars...will travel! :) I was on a business trip once where I didn't have a car and it was winter time (cold, windy and nasty outside!). None of the restaurants close by offered any gluten free choices. I got stuck walking to the pharmacy across the street and getting a candy bar and nuts for most of my meals. That gets old REALLY QUICK!
Not only are these bars great for breakfast but they are great to take to the beach, car trips, plane trips or just a mid afternoon or evening snack when you want something sweet.
Although they are easy to prepare, they do require an hour for baking so keep that in mind when you decide to make these. I usually make them on the weekends for the upcoming week or the night before a trip. They don't require refrigeration but if you aren't going to eat them (or share them) within 5-7 days then I would just put them in a Zip-loc style baggy and pop them in the freezer.
Protein Breakfast Bars:
- 1 (12-14 oz.) can of sweetened condensed milk (you can use regular, light or fat free. See recipe below if you prefer to make your own dairy free version from scratch!)
- 2 1/2 cups of gluten free oats (I use Quaker brand since I have not had any issues with them. I have had issues with generic brands. However, use one labeled gluten free if you are unsure).
- 1/2 cup protein powder (I used a whey base that was vanilla flavor for today's recipe. You can substitute your favorite flavor and type of protein powder. You can add more or less depending on how much protein you want to achieve).
- 1 cup shredded coconut
- 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins (or a mixture of both)
- 1 cup of seeds (sesame, pumpkin, chia, flax or a combination) or dried fruit
- 1 cup chopped nuts (I used finely ground almonds because that is what I had in my freezer)
Pre-heat oven to 275 degrees. I lightly greased a 7x11 (or you can use a 9x13 for slightly thinner bars). I put the sweetened condensed milk in a microwave safe bowl and popped it into the microwave on high for about 2 minutes or until hot but boiling. (You can cook it on the stove instead). Remove from heat and stir in the protein powder until smooth. I find it is easier to mix the protein powder into warm sweetened condensed milk. Stir in remaining ingredients and mix well. Spread and press the mixture into the prepared baking pan. (I usually take a piece of waxed paper and gently press down instead of fighting with the mixture sticking to my spatula or fingers! Bake approximately 55-60 minutes or until tops start to become slightly golden. Cool for about 5 minutes. I take a PLASTIC spatula or knife and score the bars so they are easier to cut when they cool. Cool completely before trying to remove from pan. (Cutting a warm breakfast bar with a plastic knife or spatula is easier because it doesn't stick as easily and forms a more clean cut line rather than having "ragged" edges). Cool completely before storing in an airtight container with waxed paper between layers. Eat within 7 days or freeze.
Sweetened Condensed Coconut Milk Recipe:
Author: Detoxinista.com (This is where I found this awesome recipe!)
Makes: 12 oz
Naturally dairy-free, this homemade sweetened condensed coconut milk can be used in nearly any recipe calling for traditional sweetened condensed milk, adding a hint of rich, coconut flavor to the final result.
- 1 14 oz. can full-fat coconut milk
- ¼ cup honey, or equivalent sweetener of choice
- Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan, and heat over medium-high heat until boiling, about 5 minutes. Watch this pot closely! Once the coconut milk starts to boil, it can bubble over quickly. Whisk regularly to prevent burning.
- Reduce the heat, bringing the coconut milk to a simmer, then add the sweetener, whisking until it’s completely dissolved.
- Allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Remove from the heat, and allow to cool completely before using in recipes. This sweetened condensed coconut milk should last for at least a week when stored in a sealed container in the fridge.
I prefer using honey as my natural sweetener, but agave nectar, pure maple syrup, coconut nectar, coconut sugar, or stevia should work just fine. Feel free to adjust sweetness to taste!
Be creative! Experiment! I will warn you that these are addictive!
Gluten Free Casually