Saturday, February 12, 2011

Chewy, Gooey , Protein-Packed Nutty Buddies

Do you love fruit and nut bars like Caveman Bars or Glenny's? Do you hate paying an average of $2.00 for less than two ounces of gooey, chewy, protein-packed goodness? Ya, me too.

The solution, of course, make your own! I tinkered in the kitchen today after returning from the gym (insert self-aggrandizing pat on the back here) and am pleased with what I concocted. My recipe didn't create a bar as firm as my favorites mentioned above, so I'll keep playing with the consistency but in the mean time these are a quick, easy, delish and much more cost effective alternative.

Nutty Buddies
1 cup of chopped nuts - I used raw cashews and raw slivered almonds
1 cup of dried fruit - I used tart cherries
1/2 cup rice crispy style cereal - I used Barbara's Organic, Gluten-free, Brown Rice Crisps
3 TBL toasted coconut - I used medium flaked, organic coconut. Not the sugar coated yuckiness you find in baking isle but unadulterated, plain, flaked coconut that I toasted in a 300 degree oven for a few minutes
3 TBL raw sunflower seeds
3 TBL sesame seeds
3 Three-finger pinches of sea salt
1/8 cup of your favorite no-sugar-added nut butter
1/8 cup honey
1/8 cup Lundberg Sweet Dreams Brown Rice Syrup - This is great in any recipe that calls for (the evil) corn syrup

Combine the dry ingredients. Combine the honey and brown rice syrup in a small bowl and pour over the dry ingredients. Add the nut butter and mix by hand until everything is well incorporated.

Cut a piece of wax or parchment paper to fit in the bottom and sides of an 8" square pan or an 8" bread pan if you want thicker bars. Press the Nutty Buddies mixture in the bar and refrigerate overnight. I keep the mix in the fridge and just cut off small portions as desired, as the ingredients hold together best when refrigerated. Have fun with the recipe, as it lends itself to all sorts of tweaking. Play with different fruit and nut combos and various nuts butters. Next time I want to try almond butter and small, dark chocolate chunks, as I think that would be a great addition to the tart cherries I used this time. In my kitchen, dark chocolate is considered a health food because it contains antioxidants! :0) Enjoy!

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