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Power-packed energy bars to get you moving in the morning
Editor’s Note: This is Part IV in an online series of recipes from Camilla Saulsbury’s Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook.
Those who know and love me will tell you I am very frugal (except they would likely select a less flattering adjective). I prefer to say that I am careful with my spending, especially when it comes to food shopping. I tell you this because I am not the person at the health food store throwing every new superfood into my hand-basket with nary a thought of price; rather, I’m the woman making a beeline to the bulk goods and comparing the price per ounce on every item. So when I do recommend a particular superfood-splurge, it’s because I think it’s truly worth it.
Case in point, goji berries. Goji berries are bright orange-red berries that come from a shrub that’s native to China and they have a unique taste akin to dried cherries and cranberries. A lot of nutrition gets packed into a single berry, including powerful antioxidants, 18 different amino acids, and up to 21 trace minerals, including zinc, iron, copper and calcium.
MAKES 16 BARS
- 1 cup packed pitted, soft dates
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup natural, unsweetened raw nut or seed butter (e.g., peanut, cashew, or sunflower)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 2/3 cups old-fashioned or quick- cooking rolled oats
- 2/3 cup dried goji berries, dried cherries, or dried cranberries, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, chopped
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flake or shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup chia seeds or poppy seeds
- 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper and grease the pan with coconut oil or vegetable oil.
2. Combine the dates and warm water in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until fruit is soft (time will vary according to the dryness of the dates). Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
3. Place the dates, nut or seed butter, and cardamom in a food processor and process until the mixture forms a thick paste; transfer to a large mixing bowl.
4. To the date mixture, add the oats, goji berries, cashews, coconut, chia seeds, and flaxseed meal; stir until well mixed (mixture will be very stiff).
5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place a large piece of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap (lightly greased with coconut or vegetable oil) atop the bar mixture and use it to spread and flatten the mixture evenly in the pan; leave the paper or plastic wrap to cover. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
6. Using the liner, lift the mixture from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Uncover and cut into 16 bars.
- Use raw, dehydrated coconut if following a strictly raw diet; if not, feel free to use regular unsweetened flake or shredded coconut and any variety—including roasted— of natural, unsweetened nut or seed butter.
- Cardamom adds an exotic flavor to these bars, but you can skip it if it’s not already in your pantry. Consider adding an equal amount of ground ginger in its place.
Tightly wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap.
- Room temperature: 2 days
- Refrigerator: 1 week
- Freezer: 3 months in airtight container; thaw 1 hour
- Serving size: 1 bar
- Calories: 178
- Fat: 9.1 g, (Saturated 2.9 g)
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 40 mg
- Carbs: 21.8 g (Fiber 4.6 g, Sugars 10.3 g)
- Protein: 5.3 g
- Raw Mango Mojo Bars: Replace the goji berries with an equal amount of chopped, dried unsweetened mango and replace the cardamom with 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger. Add 2 teaspoons finely grated lime zest and 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice along with the dates.