Even though I had a really great, super active weekend, I still found time to prepare some treats for the Saturday night Kirtan at my yoga studio. “Pat, pat, pat” on my own shoulder… I know, I know, I am amazing!
One of the items I made was a no-bake Power Bar. So far, my attempts to make a tasty Granola-Bar-like treat at home, ranged from “ughh” to “baaahh”. Honestly, that’s not surprising! Have you ever read the list of ingredients on one of these things? If you did, you shouldn’t want to eat them anymore. What makes most of these bars taste good, is a huge load of sugar often paired with a whole bunch of other obscure ingredients. Unfortunately, the few bars that don’t contain all that crap are usually the “bird food” kind of bars. So, when I found a recipe for Power Bars on Heidi Swanson’s site, I had to try it. Usually, she’s a guarantor for great recipes.
These beauties are perfect for an active weekend. Nutritious, healthy and made in no time, you can take them with you as a quick, filling, no-guilt snack that still satisfies your sweet tooth. Plus: They are vegan, gluten-free, contain only a very small amount of refined sugar, keep in the fridge for more than a week and offers a lot of room for variation. You can add nuts, seeds, dried fruits or chocolate or even try different cereals. Just make sure they are “crispy”, not “puffed” (that would throw off the recipe).
Depending on how thick you want your bars, use an 8″x 8″ or a 9″x 13″ deep dish (brownie pan, casserole).
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons ground espresso beans
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
~ 1/3 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate
~ 1/3 cup dried cherries or cranberries
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the pan with the coconut oil and set aside (if you want, you can also line it with parchment paper, it might make it easier to lift the bar out of the pan later)
Toast the nuts, oats and coconut for about 7 minutes, or until the coconut is deeply golden. Toss once or twice along the way. Mix the toasted ingredients and the cereal together in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine the rice syrup, sugar, salt, espresso, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly as it comes to a boil and thickens just a bit, about 4 minutes. Pour the syrup over the dry mixture and stir until it is evenly incorporated. Fold the chocolate and the dried fruits under (if used) and spread into the prepared pan. Press down gently to even out the thickness and cool to room temperature (or refrigerate) before cutting into whatever size you want.
The bars keep well wrapped and refrigerated for at least a week. Just make sure the cereals didn’t get soggy.