Category Archives: Gluten-Free

Granola Bars

Granola Bars

I’ve been meaning to make my own  granola bars for a while, but some how they kept getting pushed to the side, to make way for cookies and cupcakes… You know how it is :-)… Recently, I made a big batch of Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Granola and knew it would make fantastic bars. That convinced me, it was time to let granola bars take centre stage.


Granola Bars


Why did I not make these sooner?! Not only are they delicious, but they are also so easy to put together! Think, rice crispy squares kind of easy… If you have a favorite granola recipe or prefer to simply buy it, just swap yours in. This is a great base recipe, begging for adaptation!


Granola Bars



Granola Bars

3 cups Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Granola*

2 cups Crispy Rice Cereal (I used Nature’s Path)

1/3 cup Brown Rice Syrup

3 tbsp Agave Nectar

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/8 tsp Salt

2 tbsp Coconut Oil


Line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly grease. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the granola and rice cereal. Set aside.

In a medium to large sauce pan, over medium heat, bring the rice syrup, agave nectar, cinnamon, and salt to a full boil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in oil until it’s thoroughly combined into the syrup mixture.

Pour the syrup mixture into the granola mixture, and stir until the granola is completely coated… Work quickly. This step becomes more difficult as the syrup cools.

Scrap the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Spread and press mixture so that it is evenly distributed throughout the pan, then press firmly and evenly until the surface is level and stops compacting… You may find this step easier if you place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface, to stop the mixture from sticking to your hands.

Allow the mixture to cool for 2 hours at room temperature. Remove from pan, peel away the foil, and slice into bars.

Store in a tightly sealed container, at room temperature, for 1 week… Longer than a week and the bars become brittle, as they do when stored in the refrigerator.

Makes 8 – 10 bars.


*Not all granolas or oats are gluten-free. If gluten is a concern, check packaging carefully.



Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Granola

Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Granola

One of the first recipes that I shared here, was for a simple, nut and seed granola. I figured that since that was over two years ago, we were long overdue for another.


Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Granola


One of my favorite things about granola, is that , although the basic recipe is simple, it’s also infinitely customizable, making it so much fun to play with. This time round, I swapped the nuts for cranberries, and the wheat germ for flaxseed (for a gluten-free variation). Delicious straight from the jar! Even better as a parfait , layered with fruit and coconut yogurt!


Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Granola


Cranberry-Pumpkin Seed Granola

2 cups Rolled Oats*

3/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds

1/4 cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut

1/4 cup Ground Flaxseeds

1/4 cup Agave Nectar

2 tbsp Coconut Oil, melted

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/8 tsp Salt

1 cup Dried Cranberries


Pre-heat oven to 300°F.

Mix oats, pumpkin seeds, coconut, and flaxseeds. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine agave, oil, cinnamon, and salt. Add to dry ingredients and stir until well coated.

Spread mixture onto a prepared baking sheet, and bake for 20 minutes. Stir and continue baking for 10 – 15 minutes, until golden brown.

When cooled, stir in cranberries.

Store at room temperature for 1 – 2 weeks, or freeze for longer storage.

Makes about 4 cups.


*If gluten is a concern, be sure to use gluten-free rolled oats, such as Bob’s Red Mill.



No Bake Rocky Road Squares

No Bake Rocky Road Squares

It’s a sad, sad week when I can’t find time to bake anything. Yes, sometimes it happens, like this week, when work kept me out the kitchen… Those pesky job obligations do have a way of interfering with the important stuff!… But you can’t keep a good cook down, and I did manage to squeeze a few minutes together to whip up these chocolaty bites of heaven.



No Bake Rocky Road Squares



No Bake Rocky Road Squares (gluten free)

6 tbsp Melted Coconut Oil

1/4 tsp Salt (omit if using salted peanut butter)

3 cups Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (I used Enjoy Life)

1 cup Smooth Peanut Butter (I used natural)

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

4 cups Koala Crisp Cereal

3 cups Vegan Mini Marshmallows (I used Dandies)

Sprinkles (optional)


Grease a 13 x 9 inch baking pan. Set aside.

In a large pot (I used a stock pot), stir the salt into the oil. Add the chocolate chips and melt over low heat, stirring constantly. Add peanut butter and stir until smooth and well mixed.

Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Add cereal and marshmallows and quickly stir in, until completely coated… Avoid over stirring, as your marshmallows may dissolve.

Press chocolate mixture into the prepared pan. Garnish with sprinkles, if desired.

Refrigerate for 30 – 60 minutes until firm… Lick pot clean while waiting ;-)

Slice and serve.

Store in the refrigerator.



If Koala Crisp cereal is unavailable to you, substitute with any crispy rice cereal (chocolaty or plain).

Although the squares are firm enough to slice and serve after 1 hour, I found that they held together better after “resting” in the refrigerator overnight.




Recipes and Ramblins with the Tumbleweed Contessa



Chocolate Eggnog Fudge

Chocolate Eggnog Fudge

Years ago, I came across a recipe for eggnog fudge. It sounded so festive and delicious, I had to try it… The verdict: it was awful. The texture was fine and all, but it was painfully sweet… I was forever enamored, though, with the idea of eggnog fudge.

Fast forward to this summer, when I stumbled upon Kraft’s Fantasy Fudge. It seemed simple enough so I gave a try at veganizing it. The fudge turned out perfect and got rave reviews from my tasters… Except for the nuts. Apparently, many people don’t like nuts in their fudge… Anyway, the experience rekindled my interest in playing around with fudge, especially of the eggnog variety.

I was so happy with the simplicity of the Kraft fudge, that I decided to use that as my base. I switched the evaporated milk for vegan “eggnog” and used unsweetened chocolate to cut back on the sweetness… Delicious! Rich chocolate flavour with yummy eggnog undertones. Big thumbs up came from my #1 critic (Dave) :-D

My recipe calls for eggnog extract, if you cannot find any then substitute with vanilla. I do recommend trying to find the eggnog though, as it makes for a much bolder flavour. It can be found in specialty cake making shops or online.






Chocolate Eggnog Fudge

1 cup Vegan “Eggnog” (I used Vitasoy Holiday Nog)

3 cups Sugar

3/4 cup Margarine

12 oz (340 g) Unsweetened Chocolate, chopped

7 oz (198 g) Suzanne’s Ricemallow Creme

1 tsp Eggnog Extract

1/2 tsp Rum Extract


Line an 8-inch square baking pan with tinfoil and lightly grease.

In a large heavy saucepan bring the eggnog to a simmer, stir frequently. You are reducing the liquid to 2/3 cup, so remeasure periodically to check your progress (it took me about 10 minutes).

When eggnog has been reduced to 2/3 cup, add sugar and margarine. Bring to a full boil (will continue to bubble even when stirred), stirring frequently.

Reduce heat to medium and boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Remove from heat and stir in chocolate, until melted.

Add ricemallow creme and extracts. Mix well.

Pour into baking pan and cool at room temperature.

Slice into 1 inch squares (I chilled the fudge in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before slicing).




Pumpkin Seed Bonbons

Pumpkin Seed Bonbons

Just because I’m dairy-free, doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy indulging in a little Halloween chocolate candy goodness. The problem is, all those store bought, chocolate covered treats seem to have some sort of milk ingredient in them. Naturally, I didn’t let that stop me, and I began playing around with ideas and ingredients until I came up with these little bites of autumn heaven… Pumpkin Seed Bonbons.

These easy to make treats are a perfect kitchen project for little helpers (someone has to roll all those balls and lick the bowl!). Let’s see those pre-packaged confections beat that ;-)





Pumpkin Seed Bonbons

3/4 cup Pumpkin Seed Butter

1/4 cup Dairy-Free Cream Cheese (I used Tofutti)

1 tsp Maple Extract

1/4 tsp Salt

2 cups Sifted Icing Sugar

1 tbsp Coconut Flour

4 1/2 ounces Semi-Sweet Chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups, roughly chopped)


Line a baking sheet with waxed paper. Set aside.

Sift icing sugar. Set aside.

Blend pumpkin seed butter, cream cheese, maple extract, and salt until thoroughly combined. The mixture will probably be clumpy.

Add 1 cup of icing sugar, and blend until the mixture becomes smooth. Mix in second cup of icing sugar.

Blend in coconut flour.

Using a teaspoon to measure, scoop “dough” and roll into balls. Place balls on lined baking sheet and chill in freezer for 20 – 30 minutes.

While balls are chilling, chop chocolate and melt in a double-boiler until smooth… If you want to get fancy and go for the professional finish, you’ll want to temper your chocolate.

Remove the balls from the freezer.

Using a fork (and working quickly), coat a ball in chocolate. Lift the ball out of the chocolate (resting on the tines of the fork), and gently tap the fork down against the rim of the bowl (to remove excess chocolate and create a smoother finish). Place chocolate covered ball back on baking sheet.

Repeat with remaining balls.

Place in refrigerator to set (approximately 30 minutes)… If you have tempered your chocolate, you will not need to do this step.

Store in refrigerator.

Makes approximately 30 bonbons (I’m estimating, because I kept eating the pumpkin seed mixture :-D)