Macrobiotic Cocoa Nut Energy Bars

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It’s Spring! The weather hasn’t been all that fabulous so far, but the temperatures have been warming and the sun is shining brighter, making me want to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

I like to do a lot of walking and hiking outside, especially around forested areas and by lakes, rivers, and creeks.  This past weekend I got the opportunity to visit Webster Falls near Hamilton and hike right along Spencer Creek; it was breathtakingly beautiful, even during the pre-bloom part of the early spring.

Webster Falls - Photo by Briana Boldin

Webster Falls – Photo by Briana Boldin

Homemade snacks for hiking and walking trips are so much healthier, less expensive, and tastier than the ones you can buy in stores. I had chocolate on the brain this past weekend and was inspired by the flavour combination of cocoa and pecans for these chewy, easy-to-make (and even easier-to-eat) energy bars.

With a gentle sweet and salty flavour profile, these energy bars are a healthy and delicious snack that will keep your stomach full and your mind and body energized!

– – – – –

Makes 24 bars

Ingredients:
– 2 cups puffed rice
– 2 cups puffed kamut
– 2 tsp. cinnamon
– 1 cup cocoa nibs
– 1 cup pecans
– 1 cup almonds
– 1 cup walnuts
– 1 cup brown rice syrup
– ½ cup tahini
– ½ cup almond butter
– 2 tbsp. maple syrup
– 1 tbsp. white miso
– pinch salt
– 1 tbsp. vanilla extract (optional)

In a large glass bowl, coat puffed rice and kamut with cinnamon. Mix cocoa nibs throughout and set aside.

In a stainless steel pan, gently toast pecans, walnuts, and almonds until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.

Prepare a large (or two large) trays as molds for your bars. I used a large pan with a low rim (only about 1 inch high) that measured approximately 24 inches x 12 inches. Grease the trays with a flavourless oil (i.e. safflower) or line the trays with a non-stick material such as parchment or wax paper – I used wax paper to line the trays and to wrap the bars.

In a stainless steel sauce pan, heat the brown rice syrup, tahini, almond butter, maple syrup, white miso, salt, and vanilla extract over medium-high heat until bubbling, whisking constantly. Lower the heat to medium or just below and continue to whisk while the mixture bubbles and caramelizes for a few minutes.

If you haven’t already, transfer the cooled nuts to the bowl with the puffed cereals.

Pour the hot mixture over all the dry ingredients and quickly mix thoroughly with a spatula. The chocolate bits will most likely melt completely with the heat – either way (fully melted or with chocolate bits) is delicious!

Transfer to lined tray(s) and, using the spatula or your hands (wet), spread the mixture evenly over the whole tray. Don’t be afraid to be rough here and add a lot of pressure – the more pressure you have, the firmer the bars will form.

I had two large trays of the same size, so I also lined the top of the bars with wax paper and placed the second tray on top. At first I just pressed down with as much of my upper body weight as possible, until I decided to move the tray to the floor and stand on it for a minute or so. I figured that would give the bars great form!

Allow the bars to cool to room temperature before removing them from the tray. Cut the bars into your desired shape, wetting your knife with cold water as often as necessary for clean cuts.

I decided to wrap my bars in wax paper this time around for a few reasons: 1) they tend to stick to one another, and this eliminates sticking both when storing and enjoying, 2) it makes them super easy to pack for on-the-go snacking.

I’ll be experimenting with more flavour combinations  to share with you all in the future, but feel free to get creative yourself and change up the recipe based on whatever flavours you want to enjoy for the day! Dried fruit easily replaces the chocolate for a totally different flavour profile.

Enjoy!

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2 thoughts on “Macrobiotic Cocoa Nut Energy Bars

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