Monday, August 26, 2013

Trail Food-No-Bake Energy Bars



Dave and I like to be a bit outdoorsy.  We like to climb and even hike a bit.  Well, he loves to climb and it's slowly growing on me.  Usually, to get to a climb, there is a hike.  And you have to carry all of your gear.  And it's uphill.  Then we climb something.  And three (or less) pitches in I get whiny and weepy and all "I can't do this, climbing is total bulls*** DAVID."  Dave has learned that it is this point in our travels that I need to eat some food.  Like now.

On top of South Six Shooter, after a minor freak out (or two)

Typically, he shoves a Stinger in my mouth and like magic, all is well in the world.  For this backpacking trip, there was development of an energy bar to try and stave off the meanness.  This is not your standard granola bar.  These babies weigh in at about 450 calories and about 9 grams of protein apiece, so they are meant for days when you are working your tail off (also they make a nice breakfast).



They are nut free to accommodate friends with nut allergies and general nut dislike.  They are sweetened with honey and pure maple syrup for cohesiveness and no refined sugar.  There is no butter so they won't spoil out on the trail.  They taste like dessert and will keep you going.



The ingredient list is long but substitutions can be made.  For me, each ingredient was specifically chosen.  These were not the first bars I whipped up (just ask Dave, he has had to try many crummy granola bars in pursuit of "the one")

It seems like there is a lot of steps, but the food processor does most of the work.  There is no baking involved but these babies do seem to benefit from a little time in the freezer, they seem to stick together better and al the flavors meld nicely.

No-Bake Energy Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds 
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup wheat germ 
  • 1/2 cup crisp rice cereal
  • 18 pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (if you only have Mrs. Butterworth, make it 1/2 cup honey and skip the syrup)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or dried cherries, raisins, etc.)
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips (mini is important, they stick in the bars better)

Put oats in the bowl of your food processor and pulse until powdered (like flour).  Pour into a large mixing bowl.  Next, put sunflower seeds and 2 tablespoons oil into the bowl of food processor and pulse until you have made sunflower seed butter.  Pour into mixing bowl with oats.  Put dates and 1 tablespoon oil into bowl of food processor, pulse until you have made a smooth paste.  Dump into mixing bowl.  Next , to the mixing bowl, add in flaxseed meal, wheat germ, and crisp rice cereal.  Mix all to combine.  

In a microwave safe bowl, pour in honey and maple syrup.  Microwave for about 30-40 seconds.  This makes everything a little more liquidy.  Pour into granola mixture.  Stir to combine.  Finally, mix in dried cranberries and chocolate chips.  

Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper.  Dump granola bar mixture into the bowl.  Press firmly and evenly into the pan.  I usually just use the palm of my hand, but a clean drinking glass also works.  Allow to sit for an hour or two.  Cut bars to desired size, wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze or eat immediately.

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