I’m so excited to go on a road trip with my besties next week. We decided to rent a house rather than stay at a hotel this year. Most of us like to cook and bake, so we thought we’d take advantage of a place with a kitchen and be a little more relaxed this trip.
Road trip means snacks! My mom remembered me blathering on about chia seeds at some point and pulled a feature of recipes from her Sam’s Club magazine, Healthy Living Made Simple, September/October 2014. These seemed perfect for an easy, car-friendly snack.
All day energy bars
- Prep.Time : 15min
- yields 25 bars
- 2 cups raw almonds
- 1 cup agave nectar
- 2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 4 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
- 1 cup chopped almonds, divided
- 1 cup dried apricots (or dried fruit of your choice), chopped
- 1 cup chia seeds
- 1 cup dark chocolate chips
- Line 9×9 pan with wax paper.
- In a high-speed blender or food processor, combine 2 cups raw almonds, agave, melted coconut oil, vanilla and salt. Blend until smooth.
- In a separate bowl, combine oats, cup shredded coconut, half of the chopped almonds, apricots or dried fruit of your choice, and chia seeds. Stir agave mixture into dry ingredients. Reserve remaining almonds, shredded coconut and dark chocolate chips for topping.
- Spread mixture into pan. Cover top with wax paper and press evenly to compact; remove wax paper. Melt chocolate chips in microwave, stirring every 30 seconds. Spread melted chocolate evenly over top of bars. Sprinkle with remaining shredded coconut and chopped almonds. Let sit at room temperature overnight uncovered.
Let me start by saying I think the 15 minutes given for prep is a bit on the skimpy side. Of course, I was also prepping things for other recipes and didn’t actually time myself…but it feels short.
Some changes: I left the reserved almonds (steps 2 and 3) whole because I didn’t realize they needed to be chopped until after I’d already gooped up the food processor with step 1. I think agave is very sweet, and a whole cup seemed INSANE to me. I debated whether to cut it down to 1/2 cup or 1/3, and decided (based on the large amounts of oats and other ingredients) to use 1/2 cup. How smooth is smooth? I let the processor run at least a minute, scraped the sides, and ran it again. The result was still a little grainy, but the mixture was thickened and creamy. It was also ridiculously sweet. Husband will love it.
I don’t own a 9 x 9 pan, and the bowl I mixed everything in was looking dangerously full, so I sprayed an 11 x 7 ceramic baking dish with Pam and started pressing the oat mixture into it. It filled up with a generous amount left, so I grabbed a 5 x 5 Corningware dish to hold the rest. I had already measured the remaining coconut, almonds, and semi-sweet chocolate chips into a bowl (read your recipe carefully, boys and girls), so I microwaved the lot for 30 seconds. I also detest coconut, so covering it in melted chocolate seemed better than just having it sit on the top of the bars like that. The chocolate chips melted enough to stir everything together and spread it over the 2 pans.
Verdict: mixed. Although I left the bars to sit overnight, they were still quite soft. They sliced well enough, but they did not keep their bar shape. They sort of collapsed and mushed into abstract piles. That may have been the result of the lower amount of agave making them less sticky. So much for a good road trip food–these will be much more likely eaten out of a bowl with a spoon! The bars were not overly sweet, so maybe 3/4 cup agave would have worked. I didn’t mind the lack of sweetness, but I would consider adding chocolate chips to the oat base or maybe a little honey or molasses for a little added flavor (and to help the base stick together). The coconut wasn’t really noticeable, which worked out for me, but maybe if you like coconut you’d prefer it more pronounced. I used dried cherries as my fruit, which I loved for the tartness. I could also see using mixed dried fruit and nuts (trail mix), cranberries, or the apricots suggested in the recipe. Would I make these again? Yes. Do I need to tweak it? Yes. Bonus: I gave some of these to my friend Viannie after our morning walk today. She texted me later saying her daughter went crazy for them, which is a coup because the child is very limited in what she’ll eat for breakfast not picky, just particular. 🙂 So this post is for her.