Description (Some HTML is OK)
Blogged atWhole Grain Gourmet
Finding convenience foods that taste good and are genuinely nutritious is a real challenge. Many so called health bars are made with corn syrup and some even contain trans fat. Then you have those that taste unnaturally odd, or have a chalky texture. There just aren't many options available that are minimally processed, low in sugar, rich in nutrients, and taste good.
Of the widely available energy bar products, I am partial to the Clif bar. It is made from natural, mostly organic, ingredients. It is a good product, that I purchase regularly. It's not well suited for children however. The manufacturer cautions that a whole bar should not be consumed by children under 13 because of vitamin enrichment.
This reminds us that ultimately the best food choices will always be those that are closest to their original forms in nature. That is what led me to create my own homemade energy bar. I wanted something that was nutrient rich, low in sugar, and easy to make. I also wanted it to taste great.
This recipe fits the bill. It's made with natural ingredients, sweetened only with honey and the naturally occurring sugar in the fruit, and is packed with whole grains. It is an excellent source of sustainable energy. The flavor is a smooth balance of peanuts, almonds, mildly tart fruit, and toasted oats. It isn't overly sweet, but is sweet enough for a child to enjoy.
Mix up a batch and take some with you on your next hike or to the office as a snack. Cut them into bite sized pieces and serve them to your children as a cookie. However you choose to enjoy them, I'm confident that you will.
Makes 12 servings
- ¼ cup slivered almonds
- ¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
- ¼ cup dried tart cherries
- ¼ cup dried currants
- ¼ cup dried blueberries
- ¼ cup dried apricots
- ½ cup Bobs Red Mill seven grain cereal
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup organic peanut butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Preparation (Some HTML is OK)
Toast the oats and almonds under a low broiler, allowing them to begin to turn a light golden brown before removing. Set aside to cool
Combine apricots, cherries, currants, and blueberries in a food processor. Pulse to mince, being careful not to allow it to paste up.
Add minced dried fruit, oats, almonds, and sesame seeds to a large bowl and mix well. I use my hands to gently roll the mixture, getting the dried fruit to seperate from itself and blend with the oats.
Bring 1/2 cup of water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add the 7-grain cereal, stir thoroughly, and remove from heat. Allow it to rest in the pan for 2 minutes. Add peanut butter, honey, salt, and vanilla to the pan and return to a medium low heat, stiring frequently, for about 7 minutes. You want the mixture warmed througout and well combined. The mixture will begin to glisten and roll off the sides as you stir it. Do not overheat the mixture as you will need to be able to handle it.
Add the peanut butter mixture to the oat mixture and combine thoroughly. Work it with your hands to combine well.
Firmly press the mixture into a 8x8 glass baking dish. Don't be shy about it. You want to compress it into the bottom of the dish so that the top becomes level. I use a flat metal spatula. Allow the dish to rest at room temperature for two hours or longer. The longer you wait, the firmer the bars will be when you cut them.
Cut into bars and enjoy. The bars should be firm enough to retain shape, but will give to pressure.