Almond-Sesame Energy Bars
With Spring around the corner, it's a great time to get outside and re-energize your exercise routine. As you take to the trails to walk, run or bike, tuck one of these bars into your pocket for an energy-boosting treat. They provide slow-burning carbohydrates for refueling your body, as well as protein for muscle repair. The bars are easy to make—they don’t even require baking—and taste so much better than any bars you can buy!
Line a 7 x 11-inch or 9 x 9-inch baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang on each long side. Spray foil with cooking spray.
Toast flaxseeds in dry medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until aromatic and starting to pop, about 1 minute. Transfer to small bowl and let cool. Add oats to skillet and toast over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until aromatic and light golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Add sesame seeds to skillet and toast over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until light golden, about 1 minute. Transfer to the bowl with oats. Grind flaxseeds into a coarse meal in a spice grinder (such as a clean coffee grinder or blender). Add to oat mixture in bowl. Add puffed rice (or wheat) cereal, dried cranberries (or raisins), almonds, and milk powder. Stir to mix.
Combine almond butter and honey in small saucepan. Heat, stirring, over low heat until blended and smooth. Stir in vanilla. Add to oat mixture; stir and mix until dry ingredients are moistened and start to clump together. Transfer to prepared baking dish. Use a piece of plastic wrap to press mixture firmly into an even layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour. Use foil overhang to lift bars and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 24 bars with a chef’s knife. (Bars will keep, covered or individually wrapped, in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks – they get better as they sit.)
Yield: 24 bars
Per serving: Calories: 159. Total fat: 8 grams. Saturated fat: 1 gram. Cholesterol: 1 milligram. Sodium: 15 milligrams. Carbohydrates: 19 grams: Fiber: 3 grams. Protein: 5 grams.
*Toasting rolled oats and seeds enhances their nutty flavor. Do not use a nonstick skillet for stovetop toasting because nonstick pans should not be heated dry.
*You can substitute ground flaxmeal for whole flaxseeds; skip steps of toasting and grinding.
*There are numerous puffed grain cereals in supermarkets, but many are made with refined grains. Whole-grain puffed rice and wheat cereals can usually be found in natural foods stores.
*Peanut Energy Bars: Substitute ˝ cup peanuts for sesame seeds and reduce almonds to ˝ cup. Substitute natural peanut butter for almond butter.
- 1/4 cup whole flaxseeds
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
- 1 cup whole-grain puffed rice or puffed wheat cereal
- 1 cup dried cranberries or raisins
- 3/4 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 3/4 cup almond butter
- 2/3 cup honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract