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No-Bake Oatmeal Energy Bars with Cherries & Almonds

Posted Aug 25 2008 2:51pm
Continuing from yesterday’s post, I offer energy bar #2: an easy-as-can-be no-bake bar, reminiscent of oatmeal cookies and studded with dried cherries and almonds (or the fruits and nuts/seeds of your choice).

Inspiration for the bar stems from several ready-made bars I like, including CLIF bars, SOYJOY bars, and a vegetarian oat bar called BOBOS oat bars.

I really didn’t know what I was doing the first time I tried to pull these off. I found a recipe in Vegetarian Times magazine that, based on the headnote description and photo, resembled the Bobos bar.

I should have thought it through before assembly.

It was a no-bake bar, too, but instead of nut butter and/or honey, it was held together with tofu.

The gruel-like mixture was turned into a baking pan, topped with cheesecloth and a plate, then weighted with cans for 24 hours to set and dry out. I’m not kidding.

According to my resident food critic, and otherwise lovable husband, the results could be described in two words: prison rations.

But these bars are another story entirely. They are dense (definitely intended as a quick breakfast or very substantial snack on the go), but I like that texture—something of a riff on a rich, moist oatmeal cookie. I’ve played up their oatmeal cookie-ness further by adding a splash of vanilla, a dash of cinnamon, and some molasses (in place of some of the honey) because it adds that wonderful brown-sugar quality that pairs so well with oats.

Although I’ve fine-tuned the recipe to suit my tastes (cherry or blueberry-almond is my favorite permutation), please tweak away as much as you like; that’s what I’m intending by sharing the recipe.

I like to use roasted almonds or other roasted nuts in the recipe—it saves me the step of turning on the oven or stove to toast the nuts. I use salted nuts because I am a salty-sweet fan, but you can certainly use unsalted nuts or seeds, too.

Now pardon me for dashing off, I've got to go gobble one (or more!) of these right now; I just finished teaching pilates, followed by wind sprints with a toddler (and haven't eaten since this morning). Cheers!

No-Bake Oatmeal Energy Bars with Cherries and Almonds

These are also delicious with 1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips in place of the nuts or fruit.

2 and 1/2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal, uncooked

1/2 cup toasted wheat germ (e.g. Kretchsmer’s)

1/2 cup dried nonfat milk powder

1/2 cup dried cherries, blueberries, or other dried fruit, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup lightly salted roasted almonds (or other roasted or toasted nuts or seeds)

1 cup natural-style nut or seed butter (e.g., peanut, cashew, almond, or tahini)

3/4 cup honey

1/3 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

Line a 9x9-inch square metal baking pan foil; spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl mix the oatmeal, wheat germ, milk powder, dried fruit and nuts; set aside.

Place the nut butter, honey and molasses in a large heavy saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly, melted and smooth, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla, cinnamon and salt. Mix in the cereal mixture (mix until well blended and all of the oat mixture is coated).

Transfer mixture to prepared pan. Using a large square of wax paper or foil, very firmly press mixture down into pan to compact.

Cool completely. Remove bars using foil overhang and then cut into 16 bars or squares. Tightly wrap each bar in plastic wrap. Store the wrapped bars in a plastic zip-top bag in the refrigerator. Makes 16 servings.

Nutrition per Serving (1 bar):

Calories 234; Fat 9.1g (sat 1.3g, mono 4.6g, poly 2.9g); Protein 8.4g; Cholesterol 0.4mg; Carbohydrate 34.8g; Sodium 93.2mg.

(Note: I did the nutrition analysis using Diet Analysis Plus 7.0.1 )

VEGAN No-Bake Oatmeal Energy Bars with Cherries and Almonds:

Use brown rice syrup in place of the honey and soy powder in place of the milk powder.
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