Energy packed granola bars. Healthy and homemade.
Last 2 weeks have been really hectic. Coming back after a vacation, there were atleast 50 items (I am not kidding!) on my to-do list. And in addition to that my mom and younger brother were simultaneously diagnosed with dengue fever and admitted to hospital for a week. That meant several trips and constant juggling between the hospital, home and office. Thankfully all were in 2 km radius and with some excellent help from my mom-in-law we managed the show.
It was a tough time, especially when mom – the glue that holds everything together, the peace and sanctity of our lives, is unwell. Normally I would complain to her when I am stressed out and thus feel better, but how do I complain to her when she is herself not well?! Anyway, all of that is behind us now, and everyone is back to being healthy. (Touch the wooden desk. Tak tak.)
Now about the energy bars. Oat-y, almondy, delicious energy bars.
My mom-&-dad-in-law just went on high altitude trek called the Great lakes of Kashmir. Being on the trek for a total ten days, they needed a high protein long lasting snack. At age 56 and 61, they are very health conscious and fit. Both swear by an oats breakfast and everything natural.
The granola bars or cereal bars are gaining increasing popularity, especially since there is no or very little sugar in them. Honey and dates add a eclectic sweet taste to it, and the sweetness can be easily varied depending on taste. These energy bars were a mixture of things readily available in my kitchen. Based on a simple formula for achieving the crunchy yet held-together consistency, the ingredients can be happily changed and twisted.
Adapted from Brown eyed baker
Yield : 10-12 4inch bars Time : 40 mins
You will need :
2 cups ready-to-eat oats
- 1 cup chopped almonds
- 1 cup mixture of raisins + chopped dried figs + chopped apricots
- 1 cup pureéd dates
- 2 tbsp peanut butter
- 1/3 to 3/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- Soak 1 cup seedless dates in warm water for 10 mins. Strain and save the water. Puree the dates with 2 tablespoons of the water used for soaking in a mixer.
- Whisk together the dates puree, peanut butter, honey, cinnamon and vanilla extract. The date puree and peanut butter acts as a binder for the bars.
- Stir in the oats and ensure that all oats are moistened.
- After 2-3 minutes, mix the chopped almonds and the 1 cup mixture of figs, apricots, raisins or any other dried fruits as you like. The total dried fruit mixture should be about 1 cup.
- Pre-heat the oven to 170° C (330° F).
- Line a 8*8 or similar baking tray with parchment paper and tightly pack the energy bar mixture. Tap with slightly greased hands to set it evenly.
- Bake at 160°C for 25 mins.
- Remove from the oven , cut it into bars and let it cool in refrigerator for 1 hour.
- Then let it rest at room temperature for 2 hours before packing.
These highly nutritious and healthy granola bars will stay fresh for up to 8 days, even in the humid Mumbai weather.
You can experiment with all sorts of nuts and seeds and dried fruits and sweeteners just with this formula of 2 cups rolled grains + 1 cup nuts + 1 cup dried fruits + 1/3rd cup sticky sweetener + 1 cup binder. Go devise your own formula and enjoy a guilt free snack!
Next on my list is to make energy bars with slightly thicker flattened rice or poha.