Quinoa Caramelitas

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Quinoa Caramelitas
Makes 3 to 4 dozen

Ingredients
6 oz. quinoa flakes
1 lb. 4 1/2 oz. gluten-free all-purpose flour
2 T.  ground cinnamon
1 1/2 t. xanthan gum
1 1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
10 oz. light brown sugar
8 oz. (2 sticks) Earth Balance margarine, softened
8 oz. unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 c. vegan dulce de leche (caramel sauce)
3 T. arrowroot
1 1/2 c. semi-sweet (vegan) chocolate chips
3/4 c. almonds, coarsely chopped and toasted (350F for 10-15 minutes)

Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
2. In a large, whisk the quinoa flakes, flour, cinnamon, xanthan gum, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar. Add the margarine and applesauce and mix until combined.
3. Pat half of the quinoa flake mixture into the baking pan. Bake for 15-18 minutes, crust will have started to firm up but still indent if pressed. Remove from oven.
4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the dulce de leche with the arrowroot and set aside. Scatter half of the chocolate chips and almonds over the crust. Dollop half of the dulce de leche mixture on top. Crumble the remaining quinoa flake mixture evenly into the pan. Cover with the remaining chocolate chips, almonds, and dulce de leche.
5. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the edges are set. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until cooled completely. Cut into bars and serve.

Once cooled, the caramelitas can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 1 month.

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