Cinnamon scented energy bars
Energy bars (also known as power bars) are increasing in popularity everywhere in the world in the last few years. The same goes for Greece.
For us Greeks it was very normal to start eating energy bars, as we already had a similar snack for decades, called "pasteli". Pasteli is a traditional bar with nuts (usually sesame, peanut or pistachio) with honey and/or sugar. It's still sold everywhere here.
Energy bars have partially substituted pasteli, as a more complex solution for a snack, as they contain more grains and other wholesome ingredients, making it a healthier choice.
If you're trying to control your weight and boost your metabolism you can also use energy bars. They are great snack option for any time of day, so they're very useful for those long periods between meals.
They're also perfect for breakfast if you're in a hurry or on the go. Having an energy bar is a wholesome way to start the day! Depending on what you'll add in the bar, they can be very nutritious.
So, after having tried many store-bought energy bars, we had to come up with our own versions. The reasons for making your own homemade power bars are many. Let's see some:
- If you create your own bars you control the ingredients you'll use.
- They don't contain additives and preservatives.
- They're much more affordable.
- You can experiment to create the flavor and texture you prefer.
- If you have food allergies, you will only use what you can eat.
The recipe we'd like to share here, makes a delicious cinnamon-scented oats, all bran and walnuts energy bar. It's iron-rich, it's flavorful and far from boring! For sweetness we added a little brown sugar that adds a caramel flavor and a little honey that's beautifully combined with cinnamon and vanilla.
The recipe is for 12 large 200 calories bars so it’s perfect pre or post work out. If you want to cut back on calories you can slice the same quantity in smaller bars (like half the size with only 100 calories per bar). They are very filling in any case.
Each bar is individually wrapped in some cling film and put in the refrigerator to retain its freshness. We find this very convenient as we can grab a bar and go any time of the day.
And here's the best part: It's very easy to make them! You only need a medium sized saucepan or a small pot (use non stick cookware) to melt the butter and mix all the ingredients together. You bake for 20 minutes and you're ready!
Of course you can experiment with many different seeds (you can add chia seeds or flax seeds for example), nuts and cereal to make those bars your own. You can also use different butters (like almond, peanut), especially if you're a vegan. The possibilities are endless!
So let's see the recipe for those delicious energy bars!
- 65gr (1 cup) all bran (minimum 40% fiber)
- 50gr (1/2 cup) rolled oats
- 110gr (1 cup) walnuts kernels
- 35gr (1/4 cup) sunflower seeds, shelled, unsalted
- 70gr (1/2 cup) raisins (Black Corinth or Sultanas)
- 80gr (2/5 – 0.4 cup) brown sugar
- 80gr (1/4 cup) wildflower or thyme honey
- 50gr (3 1/2 tablespoons) butter
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 8gr/0.25-0.3oz vanilla sugar. You can also use 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract or vanilla powder
Preparation: Add the walnuts and the all bran in a food processor and pulse for about 10 seconds (pic.1). Do not grind into powder; you need small pieces of bran and walnuts in your bars for better texture.
Line a 26cmx18cm / 11inx7in baking pan (medium sized, preferably ceramic or glass) with parchment. You can also use any baking pan with the same area.
Over medium heat, melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sugar and the honey. Stirring continuously for 2 minutes, until the mixture bubbles (caramel is starting to form) (pic.2).
At this point add the oats, the sunflower seeds, the raisins, the cinnamon and the vanilla. Stir well and add the bran-walnuts mixture.
Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until no dry spots remain. It takes a couple a minute or two. Don't worry, all the ingredients will mix together if you keep stirring. (pic.3)
Spread the mixture in the baking pan. You can press some parchment on top and roll a hard glass to spread it (as a rolling pin). (pic.4)
Bake in the middle rack at 180 degrees Celsius/360 Fahrenheit for 20 minutes.
Remove and let it cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing the bars. Use a hard spatula or even a pizza cutter to slice the bars.
When in room temperature, wrap each bar in film and keep in the refrigerator. They can easily last for 1 week without any issues.
1. As mentioned before, you can substitute with the ingredients you prefer. In this case, make sure the butter is enough to glue the ingredients together.
2. To slice the bars in 12 pieces, slice in the middle horizontally and vertically, creating a cross and then divide each quarter into 3 strips.