It’s been weeks since my last #365dairyfree update, and things have been busy! I didn’t slack off in my promise to deliver a new weekly recipe from my trials; in fact, I shared some extra goodies from my kitchen. But today I’m going to include my progress and a special recipe that I originally created for allergy-friendly Lucy’s Cookies: No Bake Lemon Cookie Granola Bars with a Lively Lemon Icing.
These easy, crispy-chewy, cohesive, shelf-stable delights are infused with bright, sunny goodness via sweet crushed cookies, citrus zest or extract, and a touch of fresh-squeezed juice. And all you need to do is measure, stir, and read the thermometer (I use one just like this) – no special tricks or candy-making knowledge required!
We think these cookie granola bars are perfect with afternoon tea, or almond milk if you prefer. And they also stow well in lunchboxes, remaining firm rather than crumbling at room temperature.
365 Dairy-Free Recipe Challenge Update
With the 365 New Dairy-Free Recipe Challenge, my goal is to make at least 365 new-to-me recipes this year, and that doesn’t even count all of the retesting to perfect many of those dishes. I’ll be using the hashtag #365dairyfree here and on social media for updates. I’m still playing catch-up, but proud of what I’ve accomplished. There are a lot of smoothies in this group but I wasn’t taking the easy route – these involved several tests to perfect …
- Vegan Butterscotch Cupcakes (yes, they are as good as they sound)
- Peachs & Cream Protein Smoothie (warm, bright, vanilla, yum)
- Very Berry Protein Smoothie (impossible not to love)
- Snake Eyes Smoothie (my favorite – it’s carob!)
- Smoky Black Bean Burgers (it took a few tests to perfect but love these!)
- BBQ Veggie Burgers (not bad, but not my favorite … moved on)
- Mighty Millet Burgers (Yes! These are the ones)
- Chipotle Chickpea & Sweet Potato Burgers (meh. decided not to retest)
- Gluten-Free Bruschetta Bites (from scratch and delicious)
- Easy Cinnamon Roll Cake (surprisingly, this one was totally underwhelming)
- Plantain Pizza (a fun one we’re still working on – Tony is intrigued!)
- Cinnamon Raisin 100% Whole Wheat Rolls (my new morning addiction; these are heaven)
- Seasoned Baby Potatoes (testing a new homemade seasoning salt – delicious!)
- Tropical Green Spring Smoothie (easy, delicious, pineapple goodness)
- Creamsicle Winter Smoothie (fresh squeezed orange juice perfected this one)
- Green Pear Fall Smoothie (my new favorite, and I’m not usually a green smoothie fan)
- Berry-licious Summer Smoothie (a twist that worked out well)
- Roasted Plantains (a simple side I’d yet to try – a little off, but worth trying again)
- Personal Cashew Cheesecakes (served these at a dessert wine party and they were a hit!)
- Berry Cashew Cheesecakes (trying some tricks – good, but not great)
My goal for the rest of the month is to get in a little deeper and trial some special homemade dairy alternatives, desserts and mains. But first, that recipe for cookie granola bars that I promised!
Special Diet Notes: Lemon Cookie Granola Bars
By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, egg-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and vegetarian. Note that Lucy’s cookies do contain a little soy – you will need to use another dairy-free variety for soy-free.
For coconut-free cookie granola bars, you can substitute sunflower seed butter for the coconut butter. The bars will be a bit softer and will have a different, but still good, flavor vibe. For a firmer result, you can use part sunflower seed butter, part food-grade cocoa butter.
Not a fan of lemon? You can mix up the flavors in these cookie granola bars with your favorite dairy-free crushed cookie. Also, omit the lemon extract and use dairy-free milk beverage for the lemon juice in the icing.
- 5.5 ounces crispy lemon cookies (can sub another flavor; I used Lucy’s Lemon Goodness Cookies)
- 2 cups crispy brown rice cereal
- 1 cup quick or whole oats (certified gluten-free, if needed)
- ⅔ cup honey (see note above for vegan)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon zest or ½ to 1 teaspoon pure lemon flavor/extract, optional
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup coconut butter
- Grease or line a 9x9-inch baking dish with parchment paper (a 9x13-inch is okay, too, but will produce thinner bars). Grease the flat bottom of a measuring cup.
- Place the cookies in a plastic bag, seal, and smash with a mallet or similar food item into coarse crumbs and small chunks. Add the cookies to a large bowl with the crispy cereal and oats, and stir to combine.
- Whisk the honey, lemon zest or extract (if using), vanilla, and salt together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Insert a candy thermometer and let bubble (no stirring) until it reaches 250ºF. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the coconut butter until smooth.
- Quickly scrape the coconut-honey mixture onto the dry ingredients and stir to thoroughly combine. Pour the mixture into your prepared dish, and using the greased measuring cup, firmly press it in until even. Let cool 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Whisk the coconut butter, lemon juice and powdered sugar together in a small bowl until smooth. Add the turmeric, if using – it doesn't notably alter the flavor, so you can use an extra pinch if it isn't yellow enough for your liking.
- Cut the cooled bars as desired, into squares or skinny rectangles, and drizzle with the icing. If the icing firms up too quickly, heat it in the microwave for about 15 seconds and whisk.