There are few treats that bring me back to my wholesome midwestern childhood as quickly as simple toffee bars do. They were a staple of homemade goodness, both made by my mother for my sister and me, and then later made by us when we learned how to bake. They worked because they provided the “chocolate chip cookie” taste, but with a fraction of the effort, because as a “bar cookie” (we just called them “bars” – though I later learned after moving to the east coast that of the United States that this is a regional term) they don’t require any portioning, shaping, or rotating of pans.
They also lend themselves well to allergy-friendly modifications, because they don’t need eggs to achieve the right texture in the same way drop cookies do, and alternative grain-free flours work nicely with them. For this recipe, I’m using one of my new favorites: tigernut flour!
If you are new to tigernut flour…
… Read this. If not, skip down to the garden update (and if you aren’t interested in the garden update, then just scroll on down to the recipe!).
Despite its name, tiger “nuts” aren’t nuts at all. Rather, they are tubers and are compliant with the AIP protocol. Once quite obscure, they are starting to become more and more mainstream and widely available – especially as a flour. Earlier this year I compiled this post of some of my favorite AIP-friendly recipes that use it. They make these fudgy banana bars perfectly moist and these no-bake “energy bites” both flavorful and nutrient dense!
Unlike most flours, which are mostly void of any useful nutrients, tigernuts provide vitamins E, C, and B6, as well as the minerals magnesium, iron, and zinc. They are also a good source resistant starch, which is a prebiotic that can be helpful for feeding the “good bacteria” in our guts – especially important for those of us with inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis, or anyone who is dealing with an autoimmune disease.
You might be able to buy tigernut flour in a well stocked grocery store, especially one that caters to healthier diets. I’ve tried several different brands and they seem to be indistinguishable from each other. Just be sure you get one that is certified “gluten free” (shouldn’t be a problem, but you don’t want one that could have cross contamination from processing) and organic. As always, if you can’t find AIP-friendly ingredients like tigernut flour in a local store, ShopAIP is a fantastic online resource!
This has nothing to do with the recipe for tigernut toffee bars, but I’ve gotten in the routine of providing an update on my urban garden with the first post of the month since I planted it back in April. Truth be told, I am feeling a little discouraged right now and almost skipped it! Not much to brag about right now… the cucumbers succumbed to powdery mildew, rabbits completely demolished the green beans and are now munching on the turnip and carrot seedlings I planted in hopes of a fall harvest, and cabbage worms are gobbling up the Brussels sprouts leaves despite my diligent efforts to pick them off.
But we carry on! Sugar baby watermelons have been surprisingly successful in the bed that is next to the house and it looks like we’ll have a huge haul of sweet potatoes from the back yard bed. The container herb garden on the balcony is doing fantastic – lemongrass has been the most fun so far, with this recipe I posted two weeks ago for a chicken curry being a new favorite. And I’m looking ahead to cooler weather this fall with an optimistic eye… with mild weather and row covers as needed, I’m hoping to extend the season and maybe even keep some brassicas growing through the winter. I’ve got seedlings for red cabbage and broccoli started and will transplant very soon, and some kale started in a container.
Bottom line… we might be feeding the wildlife more than ourselves right now, but it is still a fun challenge!
Now, back to those toffee bars… (thanks for indulging me in the tangent first).
AIP Toffee Bars Recipe
- 1 cup (145 grams) tigernut flour
- ½ cup (80 grams) palm shortening
- ¼ cup (65 grams) applesauce
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Coconut oil or palm shortening to grease the pan
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Grease an 8 by 8 inch square glass pan.
- Combine tigernut flour, palm shortening, applesauce, and salt in a mixing bowl, then spread in pan. use hands to press down evenly.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly brown on top and slightly firm.
- Allow to cool completely.
- While the bars are baking, in a small saucepan over low heat, gently melt the coconut butter and coconut oil and then stir in the carob powder. Allow to cool at room temperature for about 1 hour, so that it slightly thickens but has not hardened.
- Pour over top of bars and then place whole pan in refrigerator to harden for about 1 hour. If topping is set, but still slightly soft, it is ready to cut. If any part of the topping is still liquid, return to refrigerator and check again in about 30 minutes.
- Cut bars into 16 squares.
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