Friday, March 30, 2012

Gluten Free Garbanzo Bean Pear Bars with Dried Cranberries

This is really a continuation of the gluten free banana bread post. Same basic recipe, but different delicious flavor combinations. These gluten free pear bars are made with garbanzo beans instead of wheat flour. Garbanzo beans or chick peas produce an excellent crumb and a lovely moist texture. I used pureed pears in the batter, but applesauce, crushed pineapple, or pumpkin work equally well. Just as with the banana bread, there is no noticeable garbanzo bean flavor in this healthy treat. I added 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, but you could leave it out and prepare a fat free version. The recipe is just enough to make 9 large bars, since not everyone in your family might be on a gluten free diet. Be prepared though, to double it next time, because these bars are just as mouthwatering as their high calorie cousins.

1 cup canned or cooked garbanzo beans
2 pears, peeled and cubed
1 tablespoon coconut oil (liquid form)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup quick cooking gluten free oats
1/4 cup cranberries
1/4 cup almonds, chopped 

Cinnamon and ginger complement the flavor of pears really well, but you can experiment with other spices, such as nutmeg, cloves, or cardamom. Their earthy flavors are quite strong though, so a pinch goes a long way.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and coat an 8x8 inch pan with cooking spray.
Using a food processor or blender puree the beans, one pear, and coconut oil until smooth and creamy. This may take a while and you'll have to scrape down the sides of your bowl several times. It's important for the mixture to be as smooth as possible. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add eggs and brown sugar and stir until well combined.
In a small bowl mix together cinnamon, ginger, cornstarch, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cranberries, and almonds. Add dry ingredients to bean mixture and gently stir to combine. Fold in remaining chopped pear.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Let cool in pan for 5 minutes and turn out onto a wire rack. When completely cool, cut into squares.

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