It is impossible to go anywhere with children if you don’t have healthy (and mess-free) snacks on hand. Lately I’ve been obsessed with trying to make the perfect energy bar. We aren’t fans of pre-made energy bars in this house because they are highly processed and can also contain icky things like soy protein isolate, artificial flavorings and colorings.
My energy bar obsession has been going on for more years than I care to admit publicly. I have a husband who LIVES on energy bars as snacks during his busy work day. As soon as we were married I decided I was going to create a bar he would eat. He is usually a good sport about my experiments and I only gave him stomach trouble on one, very sad day. When I found out I was pregnant with Kula Baby I stopped making them because I was focused on…well….being pregnant. I soon noticed the store-bought bars made their way back into our pantry….so I’m focused on operation home-made energy bar once again.
Other obsession of mine? Choose Your Own Adventure books. Did anyone else love these as a kid? I think the same principle should apply to recipes so feel free to add your favorite ingredients to my energy bar blueprint below.
I love these bars. They are sweet, but not too sweet. Dried fruit and maple syrup serve as a wonderful balance to the nuts. I use raw nuts from our farmer’s market. It is important to feed your children raw nuts and seeds instead of roasted nuts and seeds. Roasting nuts at high temperatures for long periods of time denatures the healthy fats and causes them to turn rancid. Eating rancid fat is NO GOOD. A little roasting is o.k. but I’m going to confuse you if I go on too much longer so I’ll make a note to write something about the best way to eat nuts and seeds and publish it soon.
These bars are inspired by a recipe by Rebecca Katz in the cookbook The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen. I can’t say enough good things about her cookbooks and I encourage you to add them to your library. Even if you don’t have cancer—the recipes are so healing and yummy and really, shouldn’t we all be treating ourselves like we are recovering from cancer (meaning with love and good food?)?
These bars were approved by both Kula Baby and his beloved babysitter, Rachel. Rachel took one bite today and said “these are better than anything I could buy in a store!” Ahhhhh Rachel, you’re angling for a raise, aren’t you?
Choose Your Own Adventure Energy Bars
1 cup of raw pecans (or any nut of your choosing)
1/2 cup raw walnuts (or any nut of your choosing)
2 tbsp gluten-free all purpose flour mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill) (or any flour of your choosing)
2 tbsp organic oat flour (or any flour of your choosing)
1 cup of white figs, cut into fourths (or any dried fruit of your choosing)
1/2 cup organic dried cherries (or any dried fruit of your choosing)
2 tbsp freshly ground organic flaxseeds
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup organic oats (use gluten-free oats to keep this recipe gluten-free)
1 organic egg
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
On a cookie sheet, spread out the nuts and roast them in the oven for about 7-10 minutes. Be careful not to burn them.
In a food processor, combine the flour, salt, flaxseeds, baking soda and baking powder. Add the roasted nuts, oats and pulse until the nuts are chopped up. You don’t want to turn the nuts into a paste so watch them–you still want to see chunks. Add dried fruit and pulse a few more times until both nuts and fruit are chopped into pretty small pieces.
In a separate bowl combine egg, maple syrup and vanilla. Add nut/fruit mixture and stir really well to combine. Oil a 9 inch baking dish and spread out the nut mixture in the pan. Press the mixture down firmly so you get rid of any air bubbles.
Cook for 20 minutes at 325 degrees.
Let the bars cool when they come out of the oven so they set. After the pan cools, cut bars into a shape of your choosing.