Friday, April 1, 2016

Recipe Weekend: #MakeItYours Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received these products, free of charge,from Pereg Gourmet and Country Crock, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about the products.

Being a MOM can be tough sometimes, can't it?

If you have one child with gluten sensitivity or allergies, cooking can sometimes be a merry go round of can I/can't I, one meal/two meals, until you're spinning so much you want it all to stop.

Courtesy of Pixabay
But the Moms in the Know, know that the secret to family happiness, and stopping the merry go round, is finding recipes EVERYONE in the family loves. And sometimes that means adapting your favorite recipes, with different ingredients!

Miss Grace has come out of her gluten allergy period (whew!) and landed in the gluten-sensitive era (naturally),  so I try to watch how much she gets, and to give her better quality products, to keep any flare ups at bay.

pereg gourmet gluten free flours

Quinoa Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies recipe
We recently got to check some samples from the new line of gluten-free flours from Pereg Gourmet, a company known for natural healthy foods, like Basamati rices and spices, that are perfect for those with allergies. The new line includes Almond, Quinoa, Banana, Buckwheat, Chickpea, Coconut & Farro flours!  

All of them are healthy alternatives to traditional whole wheat flour, and all are gluten-free (except for farro), 100% natural, non-dairy and certified kosher. So you know they are safe for your family! They come in 16 oz resealable, stay-fresh bags, which makes every cook very happy!

All of the Pereg Gourmet flours can be used as a 1-to-1 substitute for traditional whole wheat flour, in most recipes. And Pereg Gourmet is SO thoughtful, they have even included a delicious recipe highlighting the unique flavor of each flour, on the back of the flour packages, like this one for Quinoa Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies (sound good don't they?).

But as yummy as that recipe was, I also had to come up with a cookie recipe for a post for Country Crock, and their new healthy formulation, so I thought, why not combine the two?

If you haven't heard, Country Crock Original Spread is now made with real, simple ingredients, like soybean and palm oils, vinegar, purified water and a pinch of salt. The simpler recipe has no artificial preservatives or flavors, and contains 0g trans fat per serving, no cholesterol and no partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Did I mention it taste yummy too? If you're lactose sensitive/intolerant, then this new formulation might be perfect for you!

So I went and grabbed the recipe box and started going through the old family recipes, to find one that I could show you was easy to convert to using different ingredients, and the result was:

#MakeItYours Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

This is a pretty simple recipe really, but with the healthier, tastier ingredients, it really knocks snack cookies up a notch or two. I took my grandmother's Butter Chunk Cookie Recipe (I think all grandmas had their own version of that recipe, it appears to have been popular, as it was so easy to make), and reformulated it with the different ingredients. We opted to make them into bars, as Miss Grace declared it picnic weather and bar cookies hold up better for transport and evenly divided amounts.

#MakeItYours Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars ingredients


1 cup Country Crock Spread
1 cup Cane Sugar (I like to use it for cookie recipes, as it is naturally sweeter and has a brown sugar type taste, resembling that of traditional chocolate chip cookies)
1 tbsp Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla
1 large egg (or 2 small/medium ones)
2 cups flour- for our experiment, I mixed 1 cup Quinoa and 1 cup Coconut flour together
1 cup chopped carob/ chocolate chips 
OR 1 cup chopped chocolate Easter candy (aha, another way to recycle it GONE!)


1. Preheat  oven to 350 degrees, and coat a 9 x 9 square pan (you can use 8 x 6 if that's all your have, too), with butter, oil oil or Country Crock Spread.

creamed country crock and sugar

2. Cream together Country Crock Spread and the sugar. It is better to use an electric mixture for this, to really get it evenly creamed together, as you can see. It really helps to break up the cane sugar, if you are using it. For those of you who shy away from anything non-butter for baking, you can see it looks just as creamy and rich as when you use butter.

adding vanilla and egg

3. Add your egg and vanilla to your cream mixture. Mix well, but don't over beat.

adding coconut flour to mix

4. Add the flour mixture to your creamed mix, 1 cup at a time (that is the coconut flour above being added, I had already added the quinoa flour). As you can see the flour has a lovely richness to it, but is light, like traditional flour.

#MakeItYours Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars mix

5. Mix well and you will see it all come together nicely. While the flours should be a 1:1 ratio, I found the mix needed a tad more of the Country Crock spread, to loosen it some. It might have been because I used the heavier cane sugar. So I added in about another 1/5th of a cup, and the texture was perfect. when I added the chips and pieces of chocolate candy (and that is the sugar I used, since it was missing in the picture above)

#MakeItYours Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars mix with chips added

6. Now for the secret extra ingredient, if you want to use it!

jar creamed honey

I sprinkled the top of the bars with a touch of the cane sugar and then lightly spread some of this WONDERFUL local Creamed Honey on top. This gives the bars a heavenly sweet almost carmelized topping

7. Place pan in oven and cook for 28-30 minutes,until lightly browned. Do NOT over bake, as these cookie bars will continue to set as they cool (although they can then be used as a biscotti alternative, if they do! LOL). As you can see, some of the honey wrapped arounf the chips for some extra sweet flavior.  I slso noticed that my chunks of chocolate went toward the bottom, while the chips didn't. We like them still warm, so cut after 15 minutes. 

Now be prepared for lots of 
"MOM you rock! "
"Mom, these are YUMMY!"
and bask in the glow of a job well done!

About Country Crock:

Country Crock is a delicious buttery gluten-free spread that adds real country fresh taste to family recipes. Country Crock now
 contains essential fats which help support kids’ growth and development. Experts recommend that at least 2/3 of the fats we eat should be good fats, especially those from plants (like those in Country Crock). Good fats can also be found in fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados. It is now sold in a reusable/recyclable rectangular, space-efficient container too! Check out their website for more recipe inspirations, so you can #MakeItYours too! 

About Pereg Gourmet:

Pereg Gourmet was established in 1906, and is based in Clifton, NJ. They first became known for their vast variety of pure and natural spices and spice blends, more than 60 in all, from traditional favorites to exotics from around the culinary world.

Beyond spices and ancient grains, Pereg Gourmet produces lines of flavored basmati rice, couscous, farro, salad toppings and salad spreads. All Pereg Gourmet products are kosher certified by both the Orthodox Union (OU) and CRC, are dairy and lactose-free as well as all natural, with no additives or preservatives. Many products are also certified gluten-free and non-GMO. Pereg Gourmet products are available at select retailers throughout the US and Canada, and on their website,

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