gluten-free healthy candy bars

Gluten-Free Candy Bars

Baseball is what it’s all about in our house these days. We lost in the main bracket of the post-season tournament and are now playing in the consolation round and doing well. We were winning our game yesterday against the Red Socks and had the game postponed due to rain in the bottom of the 3rd inning when we were ahead 3-0. The boys were playing well and devouring the snacks that I brought to keep them full of energy!

On another note, just a while back, I added a cool little survey feature to this site. You may have noticed it on the lower right portion of the homepage, in the “navigation” section. This poll was to determine which of three potential recipes people most wanted to see –Mango Chicken, Chocolate Cupcakes or Candy Bars.

Well, I was not all that surprised to find that the candy won out! Were you? All the guys I know that go to the site voted candy bars –well, all two of the guys that I know who frequent the site. So take that statement with a grain of salt. And speaking of salt, that is what is sprinkled on top of the candy bars in the photo above! It’s different and tasty. Try it out for yourself.

Gluten-Free Candy Bars
Serves: 18 candy bars
  1. Preheat oven to 500°
  2. Warm grapeseed oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a large saute pan over high heat
  3. Add pecans to pan and cook for 3 minutes
  4. Remove pecans from pan and immediately transfer to a baking sheet
  5. Place pecans in 500° oven for 3 minutes, remove and cool
  6. Warm almond butter, agave, vanilla and ½ teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium heat
  7. Remove from heat and stir pecans into almond butter mixture
  8. Spread batter into an 8 x 8 inch baking dish and freeze for at least 1 hour
  9. Remove from freezer, cut into 1 x 3 inch bars; place on small (parchment paper lined) baking sheet
  10. Melt chocolate in saucepan over lowest heat possible
  11. Drizzle chocolate over each bar
  12. Sprinkle bars with remaining ½ teaspoon salt
  13. Freeze and serve

These candy bars are more complex than my usual recipes –though no one ever said making candy from scratch would be easy! If you want to simplify the recipe, toast your pecans in the oven instead of using the double roasting method; I do this to make the pecans super crunchy, though if you can stand less crunch in your bars, skip that step.

I based this recipe on Pay Day Candy Bars from a favorite site of mine called Eating Out Loud. The author of this site, Allen, seems like that all around cute/smart guy that everyone wants to meet; I have seen his photo online, I think on stumbleupon, however can’t locate it anymore, so you’ll just have to imagine!


  1. Robin says

    these look soo good, we are new to this GF cooking, but with the help of your cookbook and this web site, I ve been saved! My hubby and I love to cook, and I do that for a living as well. I was wanting to know if there was a way to make these with out whole nuts? My hubby cant eat chopped nuts due to he has dierticultis ( I know I didnt spell that right )almond meal maybe?

  2. Leah says

    I make these all the time! Sometimes I use natural peanut butter instead of almond butter. Also I use unsweetened baker’s chocolate instead of dark chocolate chips and sweeten it with xylitol and stevia (great tip from my sis-in-law to keep it sugar-free). They are SO GOOD.

  3. Jennifer says

    The recipe says, “freeze….then remove from fridge…” – steps 8 and 9. Freezer or fridge? Thanks!

    • elana says


      Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve corrected the instructions to say freezer instead of fridge.


  4. Sarah says

    I love these! I’ve made them 3 times in the past couple weeks for potlucks and birthday parties and they are such a hit! The modifications I’ve made that have worked well is to reduce agave to about 1/4 cup and I actually darken the chocholate by adding some 100% chochlate bar to the dark chips… these changes transform this dessert into a truly rich and dark treat… and basically it’s good for you. Yumm. Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. says

    I made these for the second time and they were delicious. The first time I burned the pecans a bit so this time I watched them much more closely and these candy bars turned out scrumptious. The best part? I was fine after two of them. I didn’t have to gorge down the whole pan because they hit the spot so perfectly. Thanks.

  6. says

    I finally got around to trying these out today. Holy cow! Who needs store candy when you can make this? I’m hooked. I made mine into little bite sized pieces and just added a dollop of melted chocolate on top. It was plenty of taste, but fewer calories. I didn’t need the extra sugar anyway. Oh, and I did the oven toasting method and omitted the extra salt because I just don’t like salt that much.

  7. Sharla says

    These are AMAZING! So delicious. Thank you for the wonderful recipe and for educating me on alternative ways to cook healthy and tasty snacks! I am a sugar addict and these are better than the unhealthy candy bars and cookies packed with refined sugar that I (unfortunately) love.


  8. says

    Hi Christianne-

    I’m so glad that you and your guests liked the candy bars. You are a household name over here too –I always tell my husband about your lovely comments.


  9. Christianne says

    Dear Elana,
    Since my oven just passed out completely this week and the replacement will nog arrive before the end of august, I was brutely forced to try the above recipe as a sweet treat for this weekend’s guests…No mourning here! They are delicious! We played a game with friends and my boyfriend kept saying to people: have you tried the candy bars yet?? Elana, ooops Christianne, made them yesterday.. You see: you are a household name here :-)))
    Thanks again and have a lovely sunday!

  10. Betty says

    I’m following the SCD diet and need to use honey as my sweetener. Do you know if honey can be used interchangeably with agave nectar?

    Many THanks,

  11. says

    Hi Tara-

    Thanks for your comment! I would make these as bars (the way Courtney did; she specifies in her comment above) and then cover them the Raw Chocolate Fudge. This might work out well; if you do try it, please let me know how it turns out :-)


  12. Tara says

    Oh. My. God. These are absolutely divine! I really liked the nuts roasted as per your directions – the saltiness of them was amazing in the bar. I used maple syrup instead and didn’t have quite enough almond butter so I added 1/4 cup of cashew butter. I used Hawaiian red sea salt for the top. These are the type of things I will have to avoid making as they are just too good. Congratulations on a fabulous recipe.
    p.s. One request: Would you happen to know how I could make my own chocolate chips (or even ‘mini blobs’) that wouldn’t require me to use chocolate that has sugar in it? We don’t eat sugar, but with the addition of melted chocolate to many things, I’m stuck. I don’t do artificial sweeteners either, as I’m sure you are in alignment with.
    Thanks so much Elana!

  13. says

    Naomi- Thanks for the great idea of slow roasting the pecans –I am going to try that on my next batch of bars.

    Yes, I knew you meant “can’t beat” :-) Thanks for your comments!


  14. says

    They sound just delicious! You can get the same amount of crunch if you slow roast pecans in the oven – also cuts down on the oil too. I like the idea of the simplified version, but you can beat something completely enrobed in chocolate can you?

    x x x

  15. says

    Moi -Yes, I understand completely!

    Allen -Thanks for your comment, yes the salt is goooood.

    Courtney -That’s so cool that you simplified the recipe. I was telling a friend last week as I was testing these that some smart, efficient person would simplify them by leaving ’em in the pan and pouring the melted chocolate on top –we are on the same wave length. Look forward to meeting you this MONTH at the cooking class :-) xo Elana

  16. says

    We had company this past weekend so I planned on making a wholesome meatloaf. The only thing about meatloaf is that it takes a significant amount of time to bake in the oven. Since I had other priorities the day of my company, and didn’t have much time to prepare, I put the meatloaf in the oven and made these “candy bars” for dessert. This dessert recipe worked well because the oven was occupied. Instead of baking the pecans, I just kept them in the skillet a little longer until they became fragrant. I put the pecan mixture into the freezer and instead of cutting them into bars and then pouring the chocolate over them, I saved time by pouring the chocolate on top of the whole dish! We ended up with one gigantic candy bar and we all dove in. By the looks of the pan, we all enjoyed this dessert!

  17. Moi says

    I personally did not vote for candy bars. I’ve been ruined by all of the commercialized candy! I stick with chocolate bars or truffles. But I’m impressed with what you have done

  18. says

    Becky -They are pretty good straight out of the bag, aren’t they? If you do get a chance to make these candy bars, let me know how they turn out for you.

    Myrna -Welcome! Enjoy. And you are so welcome :-)

    Christianne -Always good to hear from you; hope you had a great weekend with lots of fun in the kitchen!

  19. Christianne says

    My, do these look absolutely scrumptious!
    I can’t wait to get into the kitchen… This means eating my (or should I say Elana’s) granola quickly this morning and then put an apron on…! Have a lovely weekend all!

  20. Myrna says

    Hi, Elana,

    I am relatively new to your site, but I am enjoying it immensely. I am on a grain-free diet to lose weight and for general health purposes. I can’t wait to try out some of your recipes. Candy bars… Wow! Thanks so much.

  21. says

    goodness, these bars look good, and healthy too. i never tire of ways to eat dagoba chocolate. although i must admit that most of the time i eat the dagoba chips straight out of the bag before i ever have a chance to cook with them !

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