Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vegan MoFo Day 17: Raw Energy? Bars

So, I don't know what to call these treats, really. They are sort of like Larabars, which are billed as energy bars sometimes? When I think of energy bars, I think of cardboard coated in chocolate that tastes like a sock. These are so not that.

There are many, many recipes out there for "lara" type bars. Try googling your favorite flavor + the word "recipe" to see what sort of results you get. Probably at least one or two. I do like to eat them, and other brand name raw energy bars, though they can be costly and don't taste quite as fresh as the ones I can make at home. And boy, do we ever make these at home. They are "cookies" to my almost 3 year old. Packed full of nutrition, I'm not going to complain if she wants to call them that.

Today I'm going to make a chocolate-cashew variety, but I want to say now that you can use any kind of nuts you like! And the chocolate can be optional. Or replaced with carob powder. Mesquite powder also makes an interesting add-in (use just a little, though!) Spices are also a nice touch-cinnamon, as an example. This is the sort of thing that can't be horribly screwed up, so feel free to experiment. Actually, this recipe started out as a quick experiment when my kiddo wanted a cookie, now! while I was trying to make an uncheesecake crust she was determined to eat if I didn't get her something else to nibble on.

First step, gather some ingredients.
Hemp seeds, Flax Seeds, Cacao Powder, Medjool Dates, Cashews, Chia Seeds. Everything raw & organic. Not pictured: Vanilla Extract, Pink Himalayan Salt.
The base recipe is something like, dump in a cup of nuts and measure out an equal portion of dates. So 2 cups nuts = 2 cups dates. Pit the dates, if they aren't already. This is a very important step! Ask me how I know.

Grind the nuts for several seconds alone, until finely chopped.
These are almonds (for another upcoming post), not cashews, but you get the idea
Now run the food processor and add the dates one at a time, so we don't overload the machine.

You'll have a nicely ground mix of dates and nuts after you let it process for a moment.
Stop the machine. You officially have an energy bar. You can stop here if you like. One of my favorites is just pecans and dates mixed together. Or, throw in some other fun things you may like. I believe I added about 2 tablespoons each of chia, flax and hemp seeds.
Note that pre-grinding your flax into meal is ideal if you want it completely ground when making things in a food processor. I forgot here. But that's okay, it's still good.
Now add cacao powder! About 1/2 cup. This is completely dependent on you and your taste buds. Here is where I add some vanilla extract (alcohol free is preferred for raw desserts, but whatever you got!) and a pinch of pink Himalayan salt (less than 1/4 tsp).
Run the machine for a minute or so, and things will start binding together in a gooey yummy mess. Now let's make cookies!
All the fun of baking without the hot oven to contend with.
I find it easiest to make small balls and smoosh them flat by hand, thus the cookie resemblance. You can pat them into a large pan (I would recommend pre-cutting bars in this case, they firm up quite a bit!) or shape them into bars with your hands/plastic wrap. Husband even cut them out with cookie cutters for us recently. Pop them in the freezer if you like them cold like me, or the fridge if you prefer.
A flower cookie for C-bear from Daddy, left most section.

Ani Phyo has a great cookie recipe in her dessert book, Carob Walnut Cookies. They follow the same basics as discussed here, and she puts her cookies in the freezer-this is how I learned I like them really cold!

See you tomorrow!


Candy Beans said...

I'm definitely going to have to give this a try. Energy bars are kind of gross, but having these on hand for energy on the run would be nice.

rach said...

They are quite good for a quick snack on the run!