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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Energy Bars

I have found some great healthy alternatives to snack food in the last couple months. These ones have become staples in our house. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Homemade Cliff Bars (no bake!)

1 1/4 cups crisp rice cereal
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)
1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (e.g., raisins, dried cranberries, dried cherries, etc.)
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts or seeds
1/3 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup nut or seed butter of your choice (e.g., peanut butter, almond butter, sunflower seed butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the rice cereal, oats, flaxseed meal, dried fruit, and nuts in a large bowl.

Combine the syrup and nut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until melted and well-blended (or microwave 30-60 seconds until melted). Stir in vanilla until blended.

Pour nut butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until coated (use a wooden spoon at first, then get your hands in it. It will be sticky, but this way you can really coat everything. Just scrape off your hands when you're done). Press mixture firmly into an 8-inch square pan (sprayed with nonstick cooking spray) using a large square of wax paper (really tamp it down). Cool in pan on a wire rack and chill at least 30 minutes to help it set. Cut into 12 bars. (Wrap bars tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator).

There is plenty of room for variation here, so let your mind and tastebuds run wild. To double this recipe press into a 13x9-inch pan insteads of an 8-inch pan.

I found this recipe at Enlightened Cooking . Stop over there for a few ideas on variations she has tried. I love them with cherries and pecans!

Lara Bars

1/4 cup chopped dates (roughly chopped whole fresh dates; see note about pre-chopped below)
1/4 cup dried cherries or dried cranberries
1/3 cup whole pecans, almonds or walnuts
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Set out two pieces of plastic wrap for shaping and wrapping the bars. Do this first; you’ll have sticky fingers when you need it.

Place the dates and fruit in a food processor. Pulse until processed to a paste. Transfer paste to a medium bowl (don’t clean processor).

Add the nuts to the processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the nuts, along with the cinnamon, to the bowl with the fruit paste. Use your fingers to knead the nuts into the paste.

Divide mixture in half. Place each half on each of one of the sheets of plastic wrap. Wrap the plastic around each bar and start squishing into a bar shape form, 3 and 1/2 inches long, 1 inch wide and 3/4-inch thick); press against countertop to flatten bottom side, flattening top side and ends with flat of hand. Tightly wrap the plastic around each bar and store in the refrigerator. Makes 2 bars.

Note about using pre-chopped dates: Pre-chopped dried dates are much cheaper than whole dates, and sometimes are the only option available at the supermarket, depending on where you live. However, they are typically coated with oat flour (to prevent sticking), and sometimes a bit of sugar, too. They are too dry and hard to work as is in this recipe, but with a bit of tweaking, they will work just fine. To make them usable for larabar purposes, place them in a small bowl and cover with warm water (not hot or boiling water; this will make them turn to mush). Let stand 3 to 5 minutes until softened; then drain and pat dry. Not only will this soften the dates, it will remove any oat flour and/or sugar).

Another great Enlightened Cooking recipe! Go here for her suggestions of variations. 

Easy Whole Grain, Fruit & Nut Energy Bars
Natural nut butter (any variety) works just as well as traditional prepared peanut butter in this recipe. But if you use the former, add a pinch of salt to the recipe.

3 cups puffed whole grain cereal (e.g., puffed wheat or Kashi)
1/2 cup chopped nuts or seeds (or a combination)
1/2 (or up to 3/4) cup chopped dried fruit (one fruit, or a combination)
3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/3 cup creamy nut or seed butter (e.g. peanut, cashew, almond, soy; natural style is fine)
1/2 cup honey (or brown rice syrup, light molasses, sorghum, or maple syrup)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9-inch square metal baking pan foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix the cereal, nuts, dried fruit and (optional) flaxseed; set aside.

Place the nut butter and honey in small heavy saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly for about 1 minute until bubbly and smooth. Pour hot mixture over cereal mixture in bowl, stirring to blend (mix well to coat all of the cereal). Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Using a large square of wax paper or foil, firmly press mixture down into pan to firmly compact.

Bake until just golden around edges, about 10 minutes. Cool completely. Remove bars using foil lines and cut into 16 bars or squares. Makes 16 servings.

Check out the complete post here...

This is a great blog for healthy wholesome, mostly flexitarian recipes, you might want to bookmark it or Pin some of the recipes. Camilla has won many cooking cooking competitions and written several cookbooks. The next one of her energy bars on my list to try is Trio/Kind Bars.

This post is linked up with Beth Fish Read's Weekend Cooking!

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  1. Interesting. But I think I will stay away - although they look healthy - they are still snacks which I try to avoid. Hope you are having a lovely week.

  2. I love the idea of homemade bars. Especially for hiking when I'm burning plenty of calories.

  3. Great idea. I love making those things at home. You can control what goes in them and no preservatives!

  4. These ALL sounds really, really good. I've been wanted to try making some homemade Cliff bars or Lara bars. Why not start with these? thanks!!

  5. Yum! I think I would like the lara bars best :)

  6. I tried an energy bar recipe that was just chopped up nuts and dates in the right proportions for it to stick together. They actually turned out great and I could just grab one from the fridge when hungry. I'll have to try one of these recipes, too--thanks for sharing!

  7. these all look great. I like the idea of homemade energy bars. Thanks.

  8. Thanks for sharing these and for the tip about using chopped dates. I'm celebrating Peanut Butter Lovers Month on my blog so it's nice to see the inclusion of nut butters in these recipes. :)

  9. I love making my own cereal/energy bars!

  10. I've never made energy bars because I always associate them with 'angry eating' (eating without pleasure in the food, simply for fuel), but some of these recipes actually look yummy. Thanks for sharing!

  11. I've never thought of making your own energy bars, but these recipes seem easy (and tasty!)

  12. the homemade Lara bars sound tasty specially with the dried cherries. Thanks for sharing these.


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