Ultimate Granola Bars
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried dates
1/2 cup dried figs
1/2 cup golden raisins
Mix #2 (everything is optional)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw almond slices
1 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
1/2 cup dehydrated bananas
1/2 cup oatmeal (optional, regular or toasted)
Mix #3 (everything is optional but recommended)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
5 Tbsp brown rice syrup, agave syrup, honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup rice bran oil or safflower oil
Bars are really easy to make and there are a number of different ways they can be created. There are the dry crunchy bars which are generally a baked bar and some people even do a form of dehydrating to give it that raw food staple.
Another bar which is one of my favorites is the no cook bars. One of the easiest ways to do these is again a mix #1, mix #2, and mix #3 process.
Mix #1 is a combination of dried fruits that are blended in a food processor until they form a ball. Depending on the moisture in the fruit, it may take a little time, I like the mixture well formed.
Mix #2 is your dried items. This can consist of many foods; nuts of every kind like cashews, almonds, walnuts, Seeds are great, flax, sunflower, pumpkin. You can also use many great compliments like oatmeal, coconut, and spices like cinnamon or allspice. This mixture #2 can be left whole, or ground into an extra fine chopped, depending on your preferred creation. I sometimes reserve a bit of the combination for a whole nut and fine chop the rest. We will then combine mixtures #1 and #2 together to and continue pulsing to incorporate the two mixtures together. The greater amount of mixture #2, the drier the final product will be. This combination of mixtures can now be placed into a bowl and then add mixture #3
Mix #3 is the sweeteners, oil and salt. It doesn’t take a lot and is often really not a necessary step, but you will find that it does add flavor to a lot of the recipes. And the little bit of optional oil does help aid in the product not sticking to everything it touches nearly as much.
You will want to knead the final product for about 5 minutes. Then press into a cookie sheet that is covered with plastic wrap. An easy way to do this is to place another sheet of plastic wrap on the top and use a rolling pin to press bars into the desired thickness. Cut into desired shapes, even freezing or refrigerating for a while will help get a better cut if your mixture is too soft.
These bars can be frosted different ways, or maybe you want to roll them into balls and sprinkle them with nuts or toppings. You can wrap them and they are good to go on the go. So have fun and play around with the simplicity of bar making.
Recipe from Chef Mark Anthony