In search of healthy and fun meals to feed my family, with an eye toward sustainable living.

Here you'll find recipes & ramblings about keeping my family fed with what's available in Alaska between local produce, a little bit of wild harvest, and the modern grocery store.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

AWESOME Breakfast Bars/ Energy Bars

The daughter hiking the PCT made this request: "Mom, if you could experiment with making some breakfast bars, that would be AWESOME: something high-energy that I can nibble on while I'm still in my sleeping bag or even while I'm hiking" -- well, there's a challenge! The remaining kids (Wolf and Pixie) and I will be experimenting and test-tasting...

Never having made anything like this, but feeling confident I CAN DO THAT, I start by searching the internet for some recipes -- ingredients fall into these main groups:
Nuts, seeds, dried fruits, oats
sweeteners and fats (honey, syrup, oil/butter, nut butters, melted marshmallows, etc)
protein or milk powders, vanilla, cinnamon, espresso, chocolate, etc

METHOD: most often the binding ingredients are heated to allow for good mixing.
Some recipes call for baking at a low temperature, others for setting in the frig.

Here's a recipe from Nigella Express by Nigella Lawson (NPR listeners will recognize the name):
Nigella's Breakfast Bars

1 14-fl-oz can condensed milk

2 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)

1 cup shredded coconut

1 cup dried cranberries

1 cup mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)

1 cup natural unsalted peanuts, walnuts, or other

1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees and oil a 9- x 13-inch baking pan or just use a disposable aluminum foil one.

2. Warm the condensed milk in a large pan.

3. Meanwhile, mix all the other ingredients together and add the warmed condensed milk, using a rubber spatula to fold and distribute.

4. Spread the mixture into the oiled or foil pan and press down with a spatula or, better still, your hands (wearing those disposable latex CSI gloves to stop you from sticking) to make the surface even.

5. Bake for 1 hour, remove, and after about 15 minutes, cut into four across and four down, to make 16 chunky bars. Let cool completely.

Here's another recipe I found, bound together with PB & melted marschmallows:
Backpacker's Breakfast Bars

1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/3 cup hulled sunflower seeds
1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1/3 cup unsweetened dried coconut
3-1/2c cups crisp toasted rice cereal
1 cup dried cranberries
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
7 cups (12 oz.) mini-marshmallows

Same idea as rice crispy treats: Melt the last 3 ingredients in double-boiler and mix into the dry. Press into brownie tin, and let cool in frig. NOTE: melted marshmallows are VERY messy & difficult to mix. I was going to leave out the butter, but it seemed that it was crucial to the mix, so I did use it. CONCLUSION: probably stay away from marshmallows in the future, or buy marshmallow cream. The crucial test, of course, will be how they hold up on the trail!!!

The rest of the recipes, plus the picture, came from an outdoor blog, Windedbowhunter:

Energy Bars- Unbaked Recipe
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup oat bran
1/2 cup vanilla protein powder
1 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 cup raisins or dried fruit and chopped
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup light Karo syrup
Mix it all well. Freeze in bar shapes

Fruity Nut Chocolate Bar
Equal measures of the following (approximately 1/4 Cup each):
Dried Cranberries
Navitas Goji Berries
Navitas Cacao
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seed Nut
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Seed Butter

I put the first 4 ingredients in the blender, and twirled it around for about two minutes, until it was all in fairly fine pieces (rice sized or smaller). I then drizzled the honey in slowly. When the ingredients stick together, scoop them out and put on a sheet of waxed paper. I then folded the paper over it and spread it out until it was about 1/4″ thick. I did taste it at this point, and was happy with the taste. Not to sweet, and you could definitely pick up a nice chocolate flavor. The Hemp Seed Butter and Honey held it together nicely. Put in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Granola Nut Protein Bar Recipe
2-1/2 cups natural peanut butter
2 cups honey
2-1/4 cups protein powder
3 cups uncooked oatmeal
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup wheat bran

In a double boiler, warm the peanut butter and honey to a smooth consistency. This step can be done in the microwave as well–just heat both ingredients for 70 to 90 seconds. In a mixing bowl, stir together all remaining dry ingredients. Pour in the peanut-butter mixture and stir until completely combined. Spread uniformly into a brownie pan. Slice into 12 to 16 pieces, and then wrap each piece in plastic wrap.

Oatmeal Maple Breakfast Bar
1 Cup Oatmeal
1/4 Cup Raisins
1/8 Cup Hemp Seed Nut Butter
1/8 Cup Maple Syrup
1/8 Cup of Cashews
1/8 Cup Honey

Mix dry ingredients in blender until mixed and in smaller pieces. Add Maple Syrup and Honey and mix until everything sticks together and is ‘clumpy’. Scoop out onto wax paper, and shape into a 1/4″ thick slab. Put a thin layer of oatmeal onto a baking sheet, and then put the slab on top (prevents sticking, and gives the bars a crunchier layer. Bake at 250F for 45 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Pineapple-Cranberry-Strawberry-Almond Bar
1/4 Cup of each of dehydrated strawberries and pineapple
1/4 Cup Almonds
1/4 Cup Honey
1/8 Cup Hemp Seed Nuts
1/8 Hemp Seed Butter

Mix all dry ingredients in blender until everything is broken into small pieces. Add the Hemp Seed butter and Honey, mix until ingredients stick together. When the ingredients are stuck together, scoop them out and put on a sheet of waxed paper. I then folded the paper over it and spread it out until it was about 1/4″ thick. Put in refrigerator for at least 1 hour before slicing.

Did I mention, that all of these great recipes are from Leesa over at 4 All Outdoors?!

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