Big Sur Power Bars

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I have been seeing a lot of recipes lately for breakfast bars that I would love to try but they include stewed dried dates. I have a hard time stomaching dates, so I stewed on it for a while (I am the MASTER at bad puns) and realized I just couldn't do it. There are very few foods I won't eat, but the thought of something even vaguely prune-like makes me want to toss my cookies. So I searched a bit more and found this recipe from Heidi at 101 Cookbooks. I absolutely adore her site and have been reading it for a couple of years now. She has wonderful recipes and has authored a few cookbooks about cooking with natural foods. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to find brown rice syrup, but Fred Meyer came through for me. I was able to get everything but the crispy brown rice cereal. Pretty good though for Puyallup! Normally I can't find the more unusual items in the town so I am always thankful when Freddy's has them in stock.

My Notes:

  • I only used 1 tablespoon of ground coffee beans instead of the 2 tablespoons of ground espresso beans. And I did decaf at that because I hate the feeling I get after drinking caffeine. It affects me A LOT. You can taste the coffee in these bars, but I maybe should have done the full 2 tablespoons for even better flavor.
  • These are really sweet so I might cut back a bit on the amount of sugar used next time. I will definitely have to experiment.
  • If I make these again, I will substitute some other seeds and/or nuts. They would be great with pepitas, sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts, etc.

Big Sur Power Bar Recipe

If you can't find the crisp brown rice cereal, no worries - just use regular rice cereal for ex: Rice Crispies - just stay clear of "puffed" rice cereal, it will throw the recipe off. Feel free to substitute other types of nuts, seeds, or whatever little goodies you can dream up.

1 tablespoon coconut oil (or regular butter)
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 pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a baking pan with the coconut oil. If you like thick power bars, opt for an 8 by 8-inch pan; for thinner bars, use a 9 by 13-inch pan.

On a rimmed baking sheet toast the pecans, almonds, and coconut for about 7 minutes, or until the coconut is deeply golden. Toss once or twice along the way. Mix the oats, toasted nuts, coconut, 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 oat mixture and stir until it is evenly incorporated.

Spread into the prepared pan and cool to room temperature before cutting into whatever size bars you desire.

Makes 16 to 24 bars.


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