Sometimes I get so busy doing things that I forget to eat breakfast and/or lunch. I know, I shouldn’t do that, but I do. I’ve tried various power or energy bars, but I find them too sweet, lacking in flavor, or really just not very healthy. So I set out to make an energy bar that tasted good, was high in all of the “good” stuff we’re supposed to be eating every day, and was full of things that I loved (like Indian Coriander). I’m also a huge fan of chia seeds, and using them eliminated the need to use oil or eggs in my energy bars. (Chia seeds are full of essential fatty acids, antioxidents, calcium, iron, fiber, and are a source of natural extended energy.)
I’ve found this to be a great recipe for experimentation and using up tasty odds and ends. Got a quarter cup left of fig butter? Put it in your next batch. Found an apple or banana you need to use? Mash the banana or grate the apple, and add it to your next batch. (These are also good with grated carrots, too.) I’ll make these every week or so, and bring them into the shop. Somehow, they always seem to disappear…there are even some days where I might actually get one or two pieces! (We have some sneaky people here at the shop, especially where baked goods are concerned.) They’re always a big hit, and no one feels guilty about eating them. Yes, I will admit to sometimes putting chocolate chips in them, but chocolate is good for you, too, right?
Dried cherries and almonds make this a tasty treat…and it’s good for you, too!
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil, making sure that you have extra hanging over the sides. (This will make it easier to take the bars out of the pan, as there is no fat used in this recipe. Just pull the foil & bars out, and your pan is still clean!)
In a small bowl, add the chia seeds and water. Whisk together with a fork, being careful to make sure that all of the seeds are submerged in the water. Set aside for 10 minutes, gently stirring after 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the Indian Coriander, high-fiber cereal, non-white flour, oatmeal, salt, nuts, dried fruit and Poudre Douce. Mix together well.
Add the maple syrup or honey and the orange zest and juice to the rehydrated chia seeds. Stir well. Add to the ingredients in the large bowl, using a rubber spatula to scrape out all of the chia seeds. Gently mix all of the ingredients together. (It will look like it won’t come together, but it will. If it find that it might need some more liquid, add a tablespoon or two of orange or grapefruit juice. You just want the ingredients to “bind” together – it won’t look like any batter you’ve worked with!) This makes a slightly soft bar - if you want a more cake-like bar, add about 1/4 cup more juice.
Scoop out into the foil-lined pan and press down to fill every corner, smoothing out as you do it. Bake for 20 – 30 minutes – when you touch the center of the bar mixture, it should be very firm.
If you want a drier, firmer bar, cook for an extra 5 - 10 minutes. Let cool in the pan. Then remove, using the foil.
Place a cutting board on top of the pan and flip it over, so that the pan is on top of the board. Unwrap the bar from the foil carefully, and cut the bar into pieces. It’s great cut into bite-sized pieces, or just cut into 16 bars. Place in a zip loc bag or covered container and keep in the refrigerator. These will keep for over a week.
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