- Place a sheet of wax paper or parchment paper over the bottom and sides of an 8X8" pan.
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Toast nuts and coconut on a baking sheet for seven minutes, stirring twice. Do not toast dried fruit.
- Mix the dry grains in a large bowl. Add nuts, dried fruit, and coconut
- Heat rice syrup, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir as it comes to a boil and thickens, about four minutes. Pour over dry mixture and stir until evenly coated
- Press into lined 8X8" pan to create an even layer. Allow to cool to room temperature and use the paper to gently lift or turn mixture onto a flat surface. Cut into bars and enjoy!
February 10, 2008
So, it turns out that blogging begets blog-reading. I was recently reading a wildly popular food blog, 101 Cookbooks, perusing the recipes and enjoying the photography of Heidi Swanson. Her recipe for Big Sur Power Bars caught my eye because I have recently given up a favorite snack, Luna bars, due to an oat allergy. The beauty of home cooking is the freedom to experiment, so I decided to give homemade power bars a try.
It was necessary to buy a few items that had never before seen the inside of my pantry: brown rice syrup, crisped brown rice, and some kind of flaked grain. Following Ginger's suggestion, I looked for quinoa flakes, but couldn't find them and settled for wheat flakes instead. I used the Omega Trek Mix blend from Trader Joe's (disclosure: I work for TJ's) with some raisins to supply the nut-and-dried-fruit component of the bars.
The finished power bars resembled my favorite Luna bar flavor, and were declared delicious by the tasting panel. I love this recipe because it's adaptable, and it shows you how easy those stylish bars are to replicate. I would have been too initimidated to try making them on my own. The recipe below differs a little from the original recipe, and I'm going to keep tweaking to create a firmer bar.
adapted from Heidi Swanson's Big Sur Power Bars (with video)
2 c total dried fruit and nuts (I used Trader Joe's Omega Trek Mix)
2/3 c unsweetened, shredded coconut
11/2 c flaked quinoa or wheat (rolled grain, not cereal flakes)
13/4 c crisped brown rice (or Rice Krispies cereal)
1/4 c wheat bran
1 c brown rice syrup
1/4 c turbinado or sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t sea salt (optional)
Makes 16 bars.
I loved the Omega combination of dried cranberries, pepitas, pecans, almonds, and walnuts. I didn't toast it because of the fruit, and I left the nuts whole for a chunky bar. The next flavor I'm excited to make includes TJ's new nut mix with rosemary and thyme; I plan to add lemon zest to the syrup during heating. A blend of candied ginger, cashews, and apricot is also on the list.
I hope you have fun with this great technique!
Update, Feb. 13: I wrapped the bars individually in wax paper, which can be rinsed and reused, and am keeping them in the freezer. I grab one before heading out to work, eat it during the morning, and pass by the Luna bar display with nary a glance. Hooray!