By Will Rietveld
While snowshoeing with my friend Rich Butler this winter, Rich offered me a sample of his homemade energy bar. I was impressed with how good it tastes, and how much it resembles a Pro Bar, which I consider the king of the energy bars. Pro Bars are vegan and premium quality, but cost around $3.50.
I asked Rich for his recipe, and present it here with his permission. So, for those inclined to make your own energy bars, here is a recipe for some good ones. Janet and I tested the recipe and the bars turned out yummy.
Preheat oven to 325 and lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking pan.
2 cups rice cereal (I use Perky’s Crunchy Rice found in natural foods stores)
½ to 2/3 cup flax meal
2/3 cup sesame seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ to 2/3 cup shredded coconut
¼ cup whey powder (optional)
2 tsp dried ground ginger
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp salt (sea salt)
2 cups dried fruit, finely chopped (cherries, blueberries, figs, dates, cranberries or whatever combination of dried fruit you prefer)
1 cup chocolate chips (add more if you like more chocolate)
½ cup honey
¼ cup canola oil
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup jam (marmalade, black cherry jam, or other jam)
2 tsp vanilla
Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a separate large bowl until well blended and the brown sugar is dissolved. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well. The mixture should be moist and sticky. Spoon and press into a large lightly greased (or foil lined) baking pan (9x13 at least) so that the mixture is about ¾ of an inch thick.
The recipe is very flexible to accommodate individual tastes for things like chocolate, nuts, kinds of fruit, kinds of jam, and extra ingredients like protein powder. The important things to remember are to maintain the proportions in the recipe and adjust the moisture after combining the wet and dry ingredients. If it seems too dry add a bit more oil or jam; if too wet add a bit more cereal.
Bake in a 300 to 325 degree oven for 18 to 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes then cut into squares, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate or freeze until use.
Nuts: If you can eat nuts add ¾ cup of chopped almonds or other nuts
Chicory extract: 2 tbsp can be added for flavor