I love to have bars around that are not only satiating, they are tasty and good for me. I found this recipe on Cookie and Kate and have only modified it slightly for my tastes. These bars are free of all additives, preservatives and bad for you stuff but they are loaded with all the good stuff that our bodies need.
- 1 ¾ cups old-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats
- 1/4 cup flax seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (if using regular table salt, scale back a bit)
- 1 cup pecans
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
- 1 cup almond butter
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tsp grated orange rind
- 1/2 cup cranberries
- Line a 9-inch square baker with parchment paper, cut to fit neatly against the base and up the sides. The parchment paper will make it easy for you to slice the bars later.
- Place the oats and flax seeds in a large mixing bowl. Add the cinnamon and salt, and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Now we’ll blitz the mix-ins briefly in the food processor or blender (or, you can chop them by hand). Add any large nuts (like almonds or pecans) first and blitz for a few seconds. Then add the rest and run the machine for a few more seconds, until the ingredients are all broken up into pieces smaller than your pinky nail. Pour the mix-ins into the bowl of oats.
- In a 2-cup liquid measuring cup, measure out the nut butter. Top with ½ cup maple syrup and the vanilla extract. Stir until well blended.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Use a big spoon to mix them together until the two are evenly combined and no dry oats remain. This takes some arm muscles, but you can do it! If the mixture was easy to mix together, that’s a sign that you need to add some more oats—sprinkle in more oats until you can’t incorporate any more.
- Transfer the mixture to the prepared square baker. Use your spoon to arrange the mixture fairly evenly in the baker, then use the bottom of a flat, round surface (like a short, sturdy drinking glass) to pack the mixture down as firmly and evenly as possible or if possible, cover the mixture with parchment or wax paper and roll with a rolling pin until it is firmly packed down.
- Cover the baker and refrigerate for at least one hour, or preferably overnight. (The oats need time to soak up some of the moisture so they aren’t sticky.) When you’re ready to slice, lift the bars out of the baker by grabbing both pieces of parchment paper on opposite corners. Use a sharp knife to slice the bars into 4 even columns and 4 even rows.
- Wrap individual bars in plastic wrap or parchment paper (if you store them all together, they will stick to one another). Bars keep well for several days at room temperature, a couple of weeks in the fridge, or several months in a freezer-safe bag in the freezer for best flavor.
You can replace the pecans and pumpkin seeds with any nut or seed of choice. You can also replace the almond butter with peanut butter and the cranberries with dried fruit of choice. The orange rind goes well with cranberries but I would leave it out if it is raisins.
Essentially you want 1 3/4 cup oats to 2 cups of mix ins (nuts, seeds and fruits)