No-Bake Muesli Energy Bars with Almond Butter

no bake granola bars with pumpkin seeds

It’s a gorgeous day here – blue skies, breezy, warm but not hot, and no humidity. I’ve gone for a bike ride, bought strawberries at the farmers market, picked up my books from the library, walked about, and now I’m blogging and eating maca chocolate. In other words, utter perfection. Let all summer days be like this, says I!

I’m almost finished my program at the Canadian School for Natural Nutrition, and admittedly that’s why you haven’t seen many blog posts in recent months. But this beautiful day just sang to me and said, Emily, steal away a few moments and write something on the blog. So here I am.no bake granola bars with pumpkin seeds 3

This part of July is where summer really kicks into a higher gear. The farmers’ market is starting to show its colours – spring rhubarb is still available, but the strawberries are there, and soon I’ll see peaches, tomatoes, corn, and zucchinis overflowing on the tables. My own little farm here (I use the term ‘farm’ extremely loosely) has thus far produced 2 blueberries, 4 raspberries, and some purple podded peas. A tiny harvest, but a satisfying one. I can see the raspberries slowly turning from that light pinkish colour to the deeper red, so soon I’ll return to that glorious time when there are raspberries to eat every day when I come home from work.

It’s a nice time to be alive, isn’t it?

no bake granola bars with pumpkin seeds 2

To keep your energy up through the biking, walking, jam-making, hammock-reading, blueberry-picking, running, mowing, weeding, harvesting, swimming, kombucha-drinking, or whatever you have on the go this summer, whip up some of these energy bars (finally, I’m getting to the recipe!). They’re simple, offer protein, fibre, and healthy fat, and you can make them either as energy balls/bites or just press them into the pan and make granola bars. They’re best right from the fridge (structural integrity relies on the coldness of the coconut oil), but if you don’t mind eating them more as a melted crumble, tote them to the beach! Why not?

And of course, they require no oven, so the only breeze and warmth you feel will be that of the summer sun, wafting through your open windows.

Happy July!

No-Bake Muesli Energy Bites with Almond Butter

Recipe Notes: option for gluten-free (use gluten-free oats), option for plant-based (maple syrup instead of honey), dairy-free, egg-free, wheat-free

Ingredients:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups muesli (basically oats with a bit of dried fruit added – plain rolled oats are fine too)
  • 1/2 shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey or maple syrup
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or himalayan pink salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • optional: sprinkle of ground cinnamon

Instructions: 

  1. Whirl the muesli, coconut, seeds of choice, chocolate chips, and dried fruit of choice in your food processor until you’ve turned it into very small bits, or almost flour. The dried fruit will remain in larger pieces – this is totally fine. The chocolate might also stay in bigger chunks – also totally fine, and in fact, quite delicious.
  2. Dump this mix into a large bowl.
  3. In a small sauce pan and over very low heat, gently whisk together almond butter, raw honey, coconut oil, pink salt, and vanilla extract until smooth and a bit pourable.
  4. Pour over the dry mix and stir until all dry parts are well coated and mixture holds its shape when squeezed into a ball.
  5. Roll into balls or press into an 8×8 pan and store in an airtight container in the fridge. For best shape, eat right from the fridge or keep cool.

© Eat Well, Live Vibrantly


No-Bake Seedy Granola Bars with Brown Rice Syrup and Almond Butter (v, gf)

no bake seedy granola bars with pumpkin seeds, raisins, and dark chocolateI’ve talked about granola bars before on the blog – my Twice Baked Oat and Raisin Granola Bars with Dark Chocolate – so perhaps it will come as a surprise that I’ve venturing into granola bar territory again. Why this enduring granola bar fascination?

Well, to my mind, the granola bar is among the ultimate in portable snacks.

Portable, customizable snacks.

Portable, customizable, healthy snacks.

Okay, last one: portable, customizable, healthy, and easy to make snacks. To wit:

no bake seedy granola bars with pumpkin seeds, raisins, and dark chocolate.2Portable: in a bag, in brown paper, in tupperware, or in any other snack conveyance, granola bars can go with you on any adventure you desire. They work as a post-gym snack, a travel snack, a just-in-case snack, a work snack, a quick lunch with some fruit or a green smoothie, and so on.

Customizable: I see every recipe as a template, just waiting to be tailored to individual taste preferences. So below, where I suggest pumpkin seeds, use walnuts, if you prefer. Or double the fruit and leave out the seeds. Or, if you don’t like chocolate in your recipes (gasp!), substitute more nuts or seeds, or more dried fruit. Go modification crazy! Just try to avoid radically changing the total quantity of stuff that needs to be coated with the brown rice syrup/almond butter caramel. That’s where you’ll run into trouble.

no bake seedy granola bars with pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and raisinsHealthy: healthy options come in a variety of forms. Sometimes an apple is best, or a green smoothie; other times, you need something with a bit of protein, some complex carbs, and some tasty dark chocolate. So that’s what I mean about granola bars being healthy – they contain complex carbs, and some healthy fats, protein, and fibre, and those are the keys to making a snack that will power you through.

These particular bars also use golden, caramelly brown rice syrup, which is one of the few sweeteners that I can trust to keep my blood sugar level – no spikes, no drops. They are also full of: pumpkin seeds (zinc), sesame seeds (calcium), raisins (antioxidants), and shredded coconut (healthy medium chain fatty acids). It’s all so good!

Easy to Make: the whole point of the homemade granola bar is that you throw a bunch of stuff in a bowl, stir it around, squish it in a pan, and then either bake it or call it a day. I’m not sure what could be easier than that except, of course, the aforementioned piece of fresh fruit.

So let’s get to the recipe!

Let's also pay homage for a moment to brown rice syrup. Caramelly and not-to-sweet, brown rice syrup is one of the few sweeteners out there that I can count on to keep my blood sugar level - no spikes, no drops.  And don't be worried by the quantity of almond butter. I know, one cup is a lot. But this recipe makes serious granola bars, of which only a small amount is required for snacking sustenance

No-Bake Seedy Granola Bars with Brown Rice Syrup and Almond Butter

  • Author: Backyard Owl
  • Recipe Notes: vegan, gluten-free, naturally-sweetened, soy-free, nut-free option

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1 cup almond butter (the more liquidy, the better; also note you can use any nut/seed butter)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon pink salt
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3 cups puffed quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsweetened SHREDDED COCONUT
  • 1/2 cup SESAME SEEDS
  • 1/4 cup PUMPKIN SEEDS
  • 1/2 cup RAISINS
  • 3/4 cup CHOCOLATE CHIPS (vegan dark chocolate chips)

Instructions:

  1. Lightly grease a 9×13 glass pan with coconut oil.
  2. Measure together brown rice syrup, almond butter, pink salt, and vanilla, and warm gently in a pan over low heat, just until a bit more pourable.
  3. In a (very!) large bowl, stir together oats, puffed quinoa, cinnamon, coconut, seeds, fruit, and dark chocolate chips.
  4. Pour almond butter caramel over oat/seed/fruit mix and stir well, until everything is coated with the brown rice syrup/nut butter mix. You might need to use hands for this, friends. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
  5. Scoop the mixture into the greased 9×13 pan.
  6. Press the mix firmly (as firmly as you can) into the pan. Cut into bars now or as you go. Keep in the fridge, but serve at room temperature.

© 2014 Backyard Owl

 

 


Easy Twice-Baked Oat & Raisin Granola Bars with Dark Chocolate (vegan, gf)

The standard granola bar is, pardon my language, kind of a tricky bastard to create in the homemade healthy kitchen. Why? Well, I suppose it is partly because we are all used to the ubiquitous store-bought granola bar, which is either the supremely sugary chewy kind that sticks to your teeth or the super crunchy kind that if accidentally left in the bottom of a lunch bag or purse, seems to shatter into a million pieces like the dust of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh.

Easy Twice-Baked Oat and Raisin Bars with Dark Chocolate ChipsMade without corn syrup, refined sugars, or whatever it is that makes those other granola bars worthy of being karate-chopped, homemade granola bars live in a kind of in-between land. Chewy (but not in that taffy-pull candy kind of way) and crunchy (but not in a creepy Pharaoh dust kind of way), they are their own creature. These bars are a dense, toothsome, nutty, sweet but not overly so, delicious, normal-tasting experience. And I mean normal-tasting here really as the highest compliment. These bars taste like oats, and almond butter, and coconut oil, and raisins, and applesauce, and dark chocolate chips. And they taste like these things because that’s what they are made of. And I like that.

Now, I should explain about the twice-baked part. You’ll recall that my aim was to create a bar that was chewy, in that good “I’ve got fibre” kind of way, but also a bit crunchy.  In this recipe, chewy happens as the inevitable result of mixing oats with applesauce. The twice-baked part was a bit of biscotti inspiration. I mean, if you make a biscotti extra crunchy by baking it twice, why wouldn’t it work for a homemade fruit and oat bar? And it does work for the most part, which makes me, I think, something of a diabolical kitchen genius.

Easy Twice-Baked Oat and Raisin Bars with Dark Chocolate ChipsThese bars are also customizable, as most of my recipes are. Use dates or dried cherries instead of raisins; omit the chocolate chips; use all almond butter; use all coconut oil; use all applesauce (though this will make them veer evenly more sharply to the soft and chewy side of things no matter how many times you bake them); use pureed pumpkin instead of applesauce; add shredded coconut; throw in pumpkin seeds; and so on.

Let your inner granola bar artiste run wild! Make these a canvas that expresses everything you’ve always wanted to say about homemade granola bars. Paint a canvas of fruit and nut and oat and chocolate beauty that the world won’t soon forget.

And then bake ’em twice and eat ’em.

Easy Twice-Baked Oat and Raisin Bars with Dark Chocolate Chips

  • Author: Whole Living magazine (Jan/Feb 2013), with tweaks by Backyard Owl
  • Recipe notes: vegan, naturally-sweetened, gluten-free (if using certified oats), oil-free (if using all almond butter)
  • Yield: 9 generous granola bars or 12 smaller bars

IngredientsOat and Raisin Granola Bars with Dark Chocolate Chips

  • 3 cups (gluten-free) rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup dark vegan chocolate chips
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup smooth natural almond butter (at room temperature) OR 1/4 cup almond butter plus 1/4 very soft (or melted) coconut oil
  • 4 tbsps ground flaxmeal or ground chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsps almond milk (or 3 tbsps orange juice)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350F.
  • Lightly grease a 9×13 pan with coconut oil (note: if you wanted thinner bars, put them in a larger pan).
  • Whisk together dry ingredients plus raisins and chocolate chips.
  • Thoroughly mix together almond butter, coconut oil, applesauce, chia seeds, almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla.
  • Mix wet and dry ingredients well, until all oats are coated with almond/syrup mixture.
  • Scoop mix into prepared pan and bake for 30 mins at 350F.
  • Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and cut into 9-12 bars.
  • Place bars on a baking sheet and bake for another 10-15 minutes at 350F again, until nicely browned all around edges.
  • Cool and enjoy! These bars freeze beautifully.

© 2014 Backyard Owl