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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursday Recipe - Gluten-Free S'Mores Bars

Gluten is a protein, mostly found in wheat, that makes food chewy. More and more people are finding out that they are either Celiac's or sensitive to gluten. The gluten-free food section at our local store has exploded. Unfortunately, most of the foods are both expensive (over $1 per doughnut?) and nasty-tasting, according to my 7yo daughter. She gets GF foods because she is allergic to wheat. Most of the time, GF is a safe bet for her. BUT, she's also allergic to dairy products and soy, both are used to compensate for the texture loss when you cut out gluten. So we still read labels a lot and pick our groceries carefully. Most of the rest of us can't do soy or dairy, either.

This recipe is a great one. First off, it tastes really good. Second, it's fairly inexpensive, unlike most GF dishes. Third, it's so easy a monkey could do it. Fourth, it's really easy to change up and add whatever you want. Fifth, you can justify eating this because it's healthy. Well, except for the loads of butter and chocolate and marshmallows, but that's what makes s'mores so good.

Gluten-Free S'Mores Bars

1 13.8 oz box Honey Nut Chex (certified GF according to the label)
1 16 oz bag marshmallows (double check that your brand is GF)
1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 12 oz bag chocolate chips or other suitable substitute

Melt butter in large saucepan. Add about 2/3 of the marshmallows. Stir and cook over med-low heat until marshmallows melt and mixture is smooth. Add cereal. Stir gently to coat. Add remaining marshmallows and chocolate chips. Stir gently to distribute. Dump onto a sheet of waxed paper. Spread out a bit and let cool for at least 30 minutes, if you can. Break or cut into bars and enjoy.

Variations (check labels to make sure they are GF):
Add 1 c. mini gummi bears with second group of marshmallows. Omit chocolate.
Add 2 c. M&M candies with chocolate chips.
Add 1 c. small spice gumdrops with chocolate chips. Omit extra marshmallows.
Sprinkle 1 c. red hot candies over the top while the bars are still warm. Press gently into surface.
Substitute Rice Chex for Honey Nut Chex, add 1/2 c. peanut butter to the butter and marshmallows. Stir until smooth, then add chocolate chips and remaining marshmallows.
Sprinkle 1/2 c. smashed candy canes over the top while the bars are still warm.
Add 1 c. dried fruit, cut into raisin-size bits (cranberry, blueberry, raisins, cherries, etc) with chocolate chips.
Add 1 c. mixed nuts or peanuts with the dried fruit above.

Let your imagination run wild. It's fun and entertaining to see what you can come up with.