Homemade Power Bars
Granola bars have come a long way. People want more protein, energy, fortified fiber, full servings of fruits and vegetables and whole-meal replacements in quick convenient food. All of this can now be found in an individually wrapped bar. Yeah, I buy them from time to time and I have my favourites, but I still like to make my own. I find it less expensive and I can put exactly what I want in them. These bars, a family favourite, mimic the well-known Larabar food bar. Their sweetness comes solely from dates, which are pur.ed and make a perfect binder for nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and flavour. Try this base recipe to start and then experiment. See tips below for some alternate flavour combinations.
MAKES: 10–12 bars, 25 squares or thirty-six 1-inch (2.5 cm) balls
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
REST TIME: 2 hours or overnight
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED: food processor
3 cups (750 mL) raw almonds, coarsely ground
⅓ cup (80 mL) sunflower seeds, coarsely ground
⅓ cup (80 mL) ground flax seeds
⅓ cup (125 mL) sesame seeds
3 cups (750 mL) packed pitted Medjool dates
1 tsp (5 mL) ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
2 tsp (10 mL) Pure Vanilla Extract (see p. 14)
1 cup (250 mL) chopped dried fruit or shredded coconut (optional)
1. Line a square baking pan with parchment paper (see Cool Fact below).
2. In a medium-sized bowl, combine almonds and seeds.
3. Using a food processor, make date paste by pulsing pitted dates with the cinnamon, salt, and vanilla. Paste may form into a ball in the processor. If so, break apart with your hands and continue to pulse.
4. Add nuts and seeds to the processor and continue to pulse, breaking up the date paste from time to time until fully incorporated. The date paste is very thick and you may think that all the dry ingredients will not get fully incorporated. They will, it just requires some muscle on your part.
5. Transfer to a lined baking pan. Press paste to form a single, even layer. Fingers, the back of a spoon or a good sturdy spatula can help.
6. Cover with plastic wrap and let firm up in the refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight. Take off binder clips and use parchment handles to lift bars out of the pan. Cut, place in resealable bags and store in the refrigerator.
These freeze very well.
POWER BAR TIPS:
• Food processors are great for coarsely grinding nuts
and seeds in big batches; however, for small batches
and spices, I use a cheap coffee grinder for nuts, seeds
and spices only.
• For Chocolate Mint Power Bars, add 1/4 cup (60 mL)
cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp (2 mL) peppermint extract
to the date paste while processing. For Cherry Coconut
Power Bars, add 1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped dried
cherries and 1/2 cup (125 mL) shredded coconut after
• For a nut-free version omit nuts and replace with an
equal amount of seeds (like pumpkin seeds).
• For decadent-looking bars, or a great healthy dessert,
melt 2–3 oz (60–90 g) white or dark chocolate and
COOL FACT: HOW TO GET SQUARES OUT OF THE PAN
To line a baking pan for squares or bars, use 2 cut layers of
parchment and crisscross to cover the bottom and sides
of the pan. Use binder clips to hold parchment to the sides
of the pan. Once the bars are finished baking you can take
the binder clips off and lift the bars out of the pan using
the parchment handles.