No-bake Chewy Energy Bars

collage-1459531347782.jpg

This version of energy bar was long-pending on my wish list, to share the recipe with my family and friends back in India, not all of whom have oven units installed in their kitchens. There are quite some interesting recipes around. I especially liked the ones by the Minimalist Baker and the Kitchn. As usual, taking the bits from both, I developed my own version, as follows:

NO-BAKE CHEWY ENERGY BARS

Ingredients:

1 cup mejdool dates

1 cup alomonds

1/2 cup cranberries

1/2 cup walnuts

4 tbspoons of flax seed powder (optional, but would suggest for additional binding effect and health benefits).

A pinch or two of salt

Method:

  1. Combine dates, almonds, cranberries, walnuts, and flax seed powder together and blend it in the food processor to form a “dough”. You may need an intermittent mixing between two rounds of blending to mix in the clumps of dates, if any.
  2. Before forming a dough ball, with some light kneading, sprinkle a pinch or two of salt over it. I liked those as “a grain of salt” surprises in otherwise sweet bars.
  3. Shape and press the bar dough into a slab, over a cookie sheet.
  4. Make cuts/ shapes of your liking.
  5.  Keep the cut slab in freezer for about 30 minutes.
  6. Take out, separate  the pieces and store in a jar.
  7. Personally, I liked those as cooled slabs, so I kept them in the  refrigerator (not freezer section). Yet, it would keep well even at the room temperature, if you prefer so.

Dates really are the magic ingredient here. They hold bars together and add nice chewy caramel like sweetness. A bit of kneading for a minute or two would bring out the oils of walnut and almond, which in turn gives a beautiful glaze to these bars. Plus, the possibilities are endless little variations in nuts/ seeds/ dried fruits choices based on your liking (and pantry inventory!).

 

Healthy snack bars, from the Thug Kitchen

In the local library few weeks back, I came across- Thug Kitchen: The Official Cookbook. It was such an amusing find. Not only for its writing style but also for the recipes…. more importantly the philosophy. Cooking at home with making right choices on nutrition and health is not as difficult as it is made to sound sometimes.

The obscurity of packaged foods in its content of salts and sugars cause the bane of our contemporary eating styles. So more I learn to recreate the food items I like at home, better I feel about it. Invariably, the home-cooked food would excel over the store-brought. Of course, the time that one spends on making these wonders happen is always the crux point for most of us. So no-fuss recipes are always welcome. The Thug Kitchen’s recipe for what they called as To-go breakfast bars fitted the bill.

I made only few tweaks to their way, based on what I had in my pantry. I skipped the sugar altogether because the sweetness from the maple syrup was enough for my energy bars.

dsc_0309.jpg

Here’s what I did:

ENERGY BARS

Ingredients:

2 cup oats
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1/4 cup millet
1 and 1/4 cup chopped mixed nuts or seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries or other dried fruit
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup peanut or almond butter
1/4 cup refined coconut  or olive oil
1tsp orange extract

For nuts and seeds, I used walnut and sunflower seeds. Didn’t have millets so used oats again.

Recipe:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Line the baking tray with parchment paper. Spray olive oil on it and sprinkle with some oat flour.

Heat another pan over medium heat and pour in the oats and quinoa. Stir them around until they get a bit toasty – for about  5 min.

Combine nuts and cranberries in large bowl, then add the toasted oats/quinoa. Stir all these dry ingredients together.

In a saucepan, combine maple syrup, almond butter, oil and essence and warm everything until it’s melted.

Pour this all over the dry mix of oats, quinoa, nuts and stir with spatula until everything is mixed and coated evenly.

Pour the mix into your baking dish and bake for about 25 minutes. It would have golden color and fill the room with most enchanting aroma 🙂

Cut into bars while its still hot. Then cool at room temperature and then in fridge.

—-

We have so far enjoyed it as a to-go breakfast, late noon snack, and dessert.  A young friend of ours even had it with a cup of soy milk. Thank you Thug Kitchen!