Monday, January 30, 2012

Make Your Own Trail Mix Bars

Trail Mix Bars

These bars have many of the wonderful nuts, seeds, and crunch of a trail mix–but without the sugar load. This poses only a modest carbohydrate exposure, as the dates provide 4 grams sugar per date.
 However, if you are a marathon runner, triathlete, or other long-duration exerciser and would like to use these bars as your during-exercise carbohydrate source, they are easily modified to increase carbohydrate content to suit your needs. You can add more 2-3 more dates, for instance, or more raisins or apricots, ground in your food chopper or food processor in the first step. If you are not a long-duration athlete, leave these bars as is!
Ingredients for every 2 bars (e.g., multiply ingredients by 4 to obtain 8 bars):
2 tablespoons shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tablespoon raw pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon raw sunflower seeds
1-2 whole pitted dates
1 tablespoon walnut fragments
1 tablespoon cacao nibs
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Sweetener equivalent to 1 tablespoon sugar or sweeten to taste
1 tablespoon coconut milk (full thickness), room temperature
1/2 tablespoon almond butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.
Combine coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, and dates and grind in food chopper or food processor until consistency of coarse coffee grounds. Pour into bowl.
Add walnut fragments, cacao nibs, cinnamon, and sweetener and mix thoroughly. Taste batter to ensure degree of sweetness. Stir in coconut milk and almond butter by hand. (If almond butter is too thick, microwave prior to adding to mix in 15 second increments to obtain a liquid consistency.)
On parchment paper-lined cookie sheet, divide dough into two parts (or into as many bars as you desire). Shape into bar shape with the flat edge of a butter knife.
Bake for 60 minutes. Remove and cool.