Quinoa oats energy bars are made with almonds, cranberries, honey and peanut butter. (Reshma Seetharam)

Quinoa oats energy bars are made with almonds, cranberries, honey and peanut butter. (Reshma Seetharam)

Go natural with these sweet and crunchy homemade snack bars

  • By Reshma Seetharam Special to the Herald
  • Wednesday, April 5, 2017 5:24am
  • Life

By Reshma Seetharam / Special to the Herald

There’s nothing wrong with buying snack bars in bulk at Costco to take on the go, but why not make your own?

Instead of loads of sugar and other not-so-desirable ingredients, homemade bars can be made with a variety of whole grains, nuts, seeds and fruits. Honey and peanut butter act as natural sweeteners.

These energy bars are simple, healthy, guilt-free snacks — and they taste way better than the ones at the store.

All of these no-bake recipes involve crushing nuts and pureeing fruits in a food processor. If you don’t have a processor, you can use a coffee grinder, a blender or manually crush the nuts in a zip-top plastic bag using a rolling pin. You may puree the fruits in a blender as well.

Quinoa oats energy bars

Crunchy energy bars made with wholesome goodness of quinoa, oats, bran, almonds, cranberries, honey and peanut butter.

½ cup quinoa

½ cup oats

2 cups oat bran

2 cups wheat bran

4 cups crunchy peanut butter

1 cup honey

2 cups cranberries

2 cups sliced almonds

Dry roast the quinoa, oats, oat bran and wheat bran, individually, on high, for 1½ to 2 minutes. You may do this in the microwave or on the stovetop in a large shallow pan. Set aside.

Add honey and peanut butter to a large pan set on low heat. Once they melt together, add the roasted bran, quinoa and oats. Stir to combine.

Add the almonds and cranberries. Turn off the heat and stir until they are mixed well.

Line a rectangle baking pan (12 x 10 inches) with parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the pan, pressing it flat with your hands.

Put the pan in the freezer for about 4 hours.

Cut the mixture into squares of rectangle bars, as desired. Yields about 14 rectangular bars.

Store in the refrigerator for best taste. They keep for up to 2 weeks.

Berry, nut and bran bars

Soft, crumbly bran bars are easy on your teeth, unlike oats. Crushed nuts, berries and dates are a great addition. Enjoy these bars for breakfast or as a teatime treat.

1 cup oat bran

1 cup wheat bran

1 cup pitted dates

½ cup honey

1 cup cranberries

1 cup almonds

1 cup sunflower seeds

Dry roast the nuts, seeds, oat and wheat bran, individually, on high, for 1½ to 2 minutes in the microwave. You may also dry roast them in a shallow pan on the stove, on low heat for about 3 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

Pulse the almonds in a food processor until the nuts are crumbled and set aside.

Puree the dates, cranberries and honey with a few teaspoons of hot water in the processor. You can make it smooth or chunky, just the way you like it. I like to keep it chunky. Set aside.

In a large pan on low heat, add the roasted nuts seeds, followed by the bran. Stir to mix well.

Add the cranberry-date-honey puree. Stir to form a dough. Turn off the heat.

Line a rectangle baking pan (12 x 10 inches) with parchment paper. Pour the mixture into the pan, pressing it flat with your hands.

Put it in the freeze for about an hour.

Cut it into squares. Store in the refrigerator for best taste. The bars keep for up to 2 weeks. Yields about 24 squares.

Dry fruit rolls

Quick and nutritious, these dry fruit and nut rolls are great as snacks on the go or breakfast bars. My kids love them.

2 cups almonds

2 cups cashews

2 cups cranberries

2 cups dates, pitted

1 teaspoon ghee

½ cup poppy seeds

Microwave or dry roast the nuts and poppy seeds separately and set aside.

Place the cashews and almonds in a food processor and pulse it for a few seconds until crumbled. Set aside.

If the dates and cranberries are very dry, sprinkle a few spoons of water and microwave for 1 minute to moisten them. Set aside.

Puree the cranberries and dates in a food processor.

In a large pan, add nuts and toast lightly for 1 minute on medium heat.

Pour the date-cranberry puree. Stir them all gently to combine. This will take a few minutes.

Once a uniform mixture is formed, add a spoon of ghee and stir it into the mixture.

Turn off the heat and let it cool.

Grease your hands and make two or three cylinders/rolls.

On wax or parchment paper, sprinkle toasted poppy seeds. Roll the dry fruit cylinders on the seeds to coat.

Wrap the cylinders in wax paper and put them in the freezer for an hour.

Unwrap and cut the roll into discs. Store in an airtight container.

The rolls will stay fresh for about three weeks. Refrigerate for the best taste. Yields about 3 rolls or 30 discs.

Quinoa, dates and coconut bars

Energy bites made with dates, coconut, quinoa, oats, honey and cocoa.

1 cup cashews

1 cup peanuts

1 cup quinoa

1 cup oats

2 cups (about 20) dates, pitted

½ cup honey

1 cup dry coconut

½ cup semisweet cocoa powder

1 teaspoon ghee, at room temperature

Dry roast the cashews, peanuts, quinoa and oats in the microwave or stovetop for 2 minutes on high. Set aside to cool.

Pulse the mixture in a food processor into crunchy bits. Set aside.

Pulse the dates and coconut in a processor until they form a crumbly dough. Add in the nuts mixture. Pulse to form a dough. Finally add honey, cocoa powder and ghee. Pulse until the mixture forms a dough.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Press the dough flat and cut into square of desired size. Refrigerate for an hour.

Store squares in an airtight container at room temperature for about 10 days. It will keep longer if put in the fridge. Yields about 40 squares.

For more bar recipes, go to http://www.reshmaseetharam.com/2017/02/bar-recipes.html.

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