Power up with these scratch granola bar recipes


Chocolate Power Bars
Crunchy Granola Bars with Chocolate Chips or Cranberries

Although I’m the original granola girl — we used to serve it for dessert, for Pete’s sake — I’ve never been keen on granola bars. Give me an oatmeal cookie anytime. However, as we are off to the mountains for five days, it seemed a good time to think of something more nutritious than flour-sugar-butter cookies. I didn’t care for several versions I made at first, and decided to go for ingredients I really like to start with. These power bars get a protein boost from whole grains, nuts and seeds. They are wheat-free.

While experimenting, a few things became clear:

  1. Use only ingredients you really like in energy bars. If you don’t care for sesame or dates anywhere else, you won’t like them in power bars.
  2. Use a food processor to grind nuts and seeds to a flour-like consistency. Cornmeal-size bits are okay — anything larger is too much like eating fig seed.
  3. Buy dark chocolate chips, organic if possible. The sugar content (about 60%, usually) is enough to sweeten the bars. Milk chocolate won’t melt properly.
  4. Bake the bars in a low oven, 300° F, for about 20 minutes. You can use them raw, if you insist on raw foods, but the consistency may be a little gluey, and the freezing is really necessary.
  5. Roast seeds and nuts for 10 minutes in a 300° F oven before using them.
  6. Flax seed promotes what my mother calls your system. This can be disconcerting if your system is already working fine.
  7. If you make granola bars with store-bought granola, try to buy one without sugar added. I made my own (call it Simplicity Granola)with 4 cups rolled oats, 4 cups barley flakes, 1 cup oil, 1 cup honey. Bake in 3 lots on a tray for 20 minutes at 300° F, cool and add slivered dried apricots and dried cranberries.

Wouldn't these taste great in your Chocolate Power Bar? Leslie Savage photo

Chocolate Hazelnut Granola Bars
2 cups granola
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted and skins rubbed off (between two towels, on a board.)
¼  cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds
¼ cup  cup hemp nuts
¼ cup sesame seeds
½  cup cashews or almonds
¼ cup spelt flour

¼ cup ground flax seed
2 cups dark chocolate chips
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup dried cranberries

½ cup dried blueberries
Make a chocolate ganache. Put the cream, vanilla  and chocolate chips into a medium saucepan and heat slowly until the chocolate has melted; stir to combine with the cream. Set aside to cool slightly
Toast all the seeds and nuts for 10 minutes (300° F.)
Skin the hazelnuts.
Blend the nuts into a flour.
Mix all ingredients including the nuts, dates, and chocolate ganache in a big bowl. If too stiff to mix, add another tablespoon of cream or a little orange juice. When thoroughly mixed, add the dried cranberries and blueberries.
Cut a waxed paper liner for a 9 X 13” pan and put the dough into the pan. Pack it down with the back of a wooden spoon or your hands and a flat plate. It should be well packed, and smooth on top. Bake for 20 min. at 300° F. Cool, turn onto a board, remove waxed paper and cut into 24 bars. Wrap individually in plastic film or waxed paper. Freeze.

Coconut crispy power bars with chocolate chips or cranberries

This Cranberry Power Bar will revitalize you. Leslie Savage photo

1 ½  cups dried shredded coconut
1 cup organic brown rice crispy cereal
2/3  cup sugarless crunchy peanut butter
2/3 cup brown rice syrup
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1 cup mixed nuts, ground to flour: (sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds)
1 cup chocolate chips OR
1 cup dried cranberries

In a large bowl, mix the granola, coconut, rice cereal, and ground nuts.

In a medium saucepan, heat the peanut butter, lemon juice and brown rice syrup so that they combine. Stir well. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Mix the chocolate chips or the cranberries into the batter.
Line a 9 X 13” pan with waxed paper. Pack the batter into the pan, pressing hard to make it stick together. Bake for 20 min. at 300° F. Cool and cut into 24 bars. Wrap individually. Freeze if keeping for more than a week.