When I came across a recipe for almond power bars a year or so ago, the idea of getting an instant power fix from a yummy snack was too good to resist. Of course at the time I was deserving of an energy fix, walking religiously every day and approaching some semblance of fitness. Things have slid a bit in that department of late but the other day I remembered the power bars and how delicious they were. Getting a power fix before there’s any need for it is like putting the cart before the horse, but still it’s worth a try.
Whether or not these bars live up to their energy boosting promise probably doesn’t matter all that much unless you’re fixated on fitness, which let’s face it I’m not. Regardless, they’re ultra wholesome which is always good, plus addictively delicious which is even better.
Containing raw nuts, nut butter, seeds, coconut oil, raw honey, maple syrup and vanilla extract, these are gluten free, dairy free, high protein, high fibre, naturally sweetened and incredibly easy to make. Even the chocolate topping (which is optional) is good, because you can use raw, organic chocolate. I usually do some with and some without to suit all tastes and moods. All the ingredients are high in anti-oxidants (if you’re swayed by such things).
The other bonus about these bars is they’re very adaptable. Although the original recipe calls for flax meal (ground flax seeds), I substituted linseed meal (because I couldn’t find any flax) and when I can’t find raw almonds have used raw peanuts. In fact in this recent batch I used raw pistachio nuts. Aesthetically these may not be the best choice as they impart a slight extra-terrestrial tinge to the mix (which might be a bonus depending on preference). And of course, failing almond butter (as specified by the recipe), peanut or other nut butter will do just as well.
The recipe I used comes from the website Healthy Family and Home. There are a few other versions around, including on the website Elana’s Pantry, which says they are based on Melissa Diane Smith’s recipe for Amaretto Protein Bars in her book Going Against the Grain. Whoever can claim provenance, they deserve to take a bow. Consuming them may not instantly propel you up off the couch, but I can guarantee they’ll get your taste buds energised.
- 2 cups raw almonds or other raw nuts
- ½ cup flax or linseed meal
- ½ cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- ½ cup unsalted almond or other nut butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 1-2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Block of dark chocolate (for optional topping) - I used Green & Black's Organic
- Place almonds or other nuts, flax or linseed meal, shredded cocounut, almond or other butter and salt in a food processor
- Pulse briefly, about 10 seconds
- In a small saucepan, melt coconut oil over very low heat
- Remove coconut oil from stove, stir honey, maple syrup and vanilla into oil
- Add oil mixture to food processor and pulse until ingredients form a coarse paste
- Press mixture into a small glass or metal baking dish
- Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens
- For chocolate topping: In a small saucepan, melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring continuously
- Spread melted chocolate over the nut mixture, return to refrigerator for 30 minutes until chocolate hardens
- Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars and serve. (In the hot weather, if you don't eat them all at once, it's best to store them in the fridge).
by Anne Green