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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nutty No Bake Energy Bars

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After buying granola bars a few weeks in a row at the grocery store, per Ryan's request, I decided it was time to make my own batch again. I have a few tried and true granola bar recipes already: banana nut with dried cranberries, chocolate peanut butter, coconut almond apricot, and my very favorite, mocha coconut, but of course couldn't resist trying something new. 
I found a no-bake granola bar on Epicurious, but it had a lot of added sugar and reviews mentioned that they were dry and crumbly. Because they already had honey, I eliminated any other added sugar but added some coconut oil to keep them moist. I also threw some flaxseed meal in there for an extra boost of fiber and healthy fats.
These don't take more than fifteen minutes start to finish and you don't even have to turn your oven on! I recommend sticking the pan in the freezer for a few hours until they firm up. I ended up cutting them into bars and then freezing them. Wrap them individually in plastic wrap (I didn't, but after a week they started to get freezer burnt) and keep them in a freezer bag. We pulled them out as needed for a pre-workout snack or to throw in our lunches. 
Now that I've been once again reminded how easy it is to make homemade granol bars--not to mention giving you the option to customize to your liking--I won't be picking them up in the store anytime soon!

One Year Ago: Texas Sheet Cake
Two Years Ago: Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Galette 
Three Years Ago: Zucchini Banana Bread

Nutty No Bake Energy Bars
inspired by Epicurious

-1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
-1/2 cup sunflower seed kernals
-1/2 cup dried cranberries
-2 cups old fashioned oats
-1/4 cup flaxseed meal
-2 cups Rice Krispies (or other toasted rice cereal)
-1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
-1/2 cup honey
-1/4 cup coconut oil
-1 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a large bowl, combine the peanuts, sunflower seeds, dried cranberries, oats, flaxseed meal, and Rice Krispies. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add the peanut butter, honey, and coconut oil. Stir until peanut butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Pour mixture over the dry ingredients, stirring to coat.
3. Press mixture into a 9-inch square pan lined with foil and greased. Use a spatula to press down firmly to compact bars. Place in freezer to chill for 30 minutes to one hour. Cut into squares.
*Bars can be frozen. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag or airtight container.