Monday, September 30, 2013

Energy Bars

My search for a properly balanced energy bar led me to Brendan Brazier (a vegan runner and professional athlete who promotes raw food). Thank you to Brendan for showing the importance of 'correctly combining' and consuming the right nutritional building blocks after a workout!

His original recipe was a bit different from mine, but after testing many different versions of these bars in my kitchen, I feel this one is a keeper.

  • using dried cranberries vs. frozen cranberries I found that whole cranberries are definitely the way to go because they add a more intense real cranberry flavour
  • dried cranberries contain some form of sweetener (whether sugar or juice)
  • fresh or frozen cranberries contain no sweetener (simply whole berries - the best)
  • my first attempts resulted in a much softer bar, but this final combination resulted in a firmer bar that holds its shape
  • after slicing into bars they can be wrapped and frozen - ready to go!
Cranberry Walnut Energy Bars
Yield:  1-1/2 dozen bars 
1 cup Medjool dates, soaked
1/4 cup raw walnuts
1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
2 Tbsp coconut palm sugar
1/3 cup unhulled hemp seeds 
pinch of Himalayan salt to taste
1/2 cup buckwheat groats, sprouted and dehydrated
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • In a food processor, process ingredients (except for the last three below the line) till desired texture is reached. For a snack bar with more crunch, process for less time. For a bar that will be eaten during an activity like biking, blending until mixture is smooth will reduce the amount of chewing required.
  • When processed, transfer ingredients from food processor to a bowl and mix in the last 3 ingredients (buckwheat, walnuts, and cranberries) by hand.
  • Place mixture onto a clean mat and either roll into balls, or shape into bars.
  • I formed mixture into a loaf shape 6-1/2" L x 4" W x 1" D, placed in the fridge overnight to set, and then sliced into bars.
Sprouting buckwheat groats:  Begin by covering buckwheat groats with 3 times the amount of water (1 cup groats in 3 cups water, etc). After soaking for 4 hours, drain and rinse the groats really, really well. Place in a glass quart jar with a mesh lid (upside down), or leave to drain in a colander (strainer) over a bowl that is covered with a towel. Rinse twice a day for the next couple of days until all the groats sprout their amazing little tails. After a final rinse, they are ready to use.

Note:  For this recipe the buckwheat groats were dehydrated after sprouting. Using fresh sprouted buckwheat will result in a moister bar - while dehydrating sprouted buckwheat until dry adds an interesting crunch to the bars.

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