Friday Shout Out: Barred

I'm a sucker for "energy bars" which I tend to view as a candy bar treat wrapped up in "Good For You" packaging.

So many I have tried...the GeniSoy, Larabar, Balance, Cliff, Cliff Mojo, Kashi, the good ol' Natures Valley Granola bar (isn't technically an energy/protein bar, but...), Luna Bar (for ladies only!).... there may be others. At the moment I have two Luna bars stashed in my work desk for late-afternoon sugar cravings - the Lemon Zest kind. They are lusciously Lemon and I love them so much.

My new cookbook includes a recipe for homemade bars (see below). I am interested in making my own because at the range of an on-sale reduced price of $1 to $3 or more per bar, they're kind of a pricey snack.

Do you have a bar recipe or a certain brand you pledge allegiance to?

Granola Bars

These will keep at room temperature, covered, for up to a week; you can also freeze them. Substitute your favorite nuts or dried fruits for the ones suggested here, or use other nut butters or fruit purees for the almond butter.

Yield: 8 bars
Dry Ingredients:¼ cup almonds, toasted and chopped1 cup rolled oats1/3 cup whole-wheat pastry flour¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds¼ cup raisins or dried fruit½ tsp. cinnamon2 Tbsp sugar¼ tsp. salt

Wet Ingredients:¼ cup almond butter¼ cup maple syrup1 tsp vanilla extract¼ cup apple juice

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8 by 8 inch baking pan.
Place the wet ingredients in a medium bowl and stir to combine.
Whisk the wet ingredients in another bowl and then pour it into the dry, stirring until the batter is thoroughly moistened.
Press the mixture evenly into the prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cut into 8 bars or various chunks.
Return the pan to the oven and bake until golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then remove the bars with a spatula, and cool them on a rack for at least 30 minutes.
For crispier bars, bake in an 8 x 11-inch pan.

Adapted from the Healthy Hedonist by Myra Kornfeld

Happy, Happy Friday! Enjoy the Labor Day Weekend and try not to labor too hard - unless you're in the kitchen -- that's tasty, rewarding work!