Do any of you out there like Kind energy bars? I do! If I’m ever in a rush and don’t have time to whip up a healthy shake or cook some eggs for breakfast., my go-to move is to buy a cup of coffee and a Kind bar at the local coffee shop before heading to the gym or to work (depends on the day). Kind bars seem to be the healthiest choice for a girl on the go – full of nuts, dried fruit, vitamins, and antioxidants. Everything’s good, but the price is annoying at $2.50 each. At first, I thought about buying them online in bulk, but then I decided why not make them myself?

I searched the Internet and found several recipes for energy bars that I tried out. The big problem was that they got soft and fell apart once I pulled them out of the frig. What I needed was to find a recipe with ingredients that would bind the bars together so they would stay firm at room temperature. Finally, I was leafing through the pages of Canyon Ranch Cooks when I came across trail bars that had exactly what I was looking for to provide the natural “glue” I needed: brown rice syrup, which has the appearance and consistency of molasses, and almond butter, which is thick and creamy like peanut butter.

The first step is to pour the almond butter and brown rice syrup into a pan and cook over low heat until bubbles form. Then you can stir in your favorite fruits and nuts. The original recipe has dried cherries and chopped walnuts. I also cut up some dried apricots and almonds, which I crushed up with a potato masher (a great way to get out your frustration!). Then I added the called for quinoa flakes, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, puffed rice, and puffed millet.

Whoa, puffed millet! I bet you’re wondering just exactly what is that. (Not to mention quinoa, but I already covered that in a previous blog. Puffed millet is pearly white, round, and tiny, about 1/4 inch in diameter. According to Wikipedia, the name refers to “several different annual summer kinds of grass used for hay, pasture, silage, and grain.

 

Another fun fact, millet is the main ingredient in birdseed. But these trail bars are not for parakeets, they’re for you and me, and they are great for us – low in fat, carbohydrates, sodium, and cholesterol, and loaded with protein and fiber. Plus, they’re delicious!

OK, let’s get back to business. When the mixture is cool enough to handle, press it into a 9 x 13-inch baking pan that’s been lightly coated with canola oil. The best way to do this is to lay a piece of parchment paper across the top and use your palm to smooth out the contents from the middle outward, flattening out the mixture and pushing it into the corners of the pan.

Let the trail bars cool completely and then cut them into 20-25 bars, depending on the size you want. I like to wrap them individually in parchment paper and store them in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag in the freezer. That way when I’m running out of the house in the morning, I can grab one and be on my way.

 

TRAIL BARS

Adapted from Canyon Ranch Cooks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • 3/4 chopped nuts, almonds and walnuts
  • 1 cup dried fruit, cherries and diced apricots
  • 1 2/3 cups puffed millet
  • 1/ 2/3 cups puffed rice
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flakes

Instructions

Lightly coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with Canola oil. In a large saucepan, heat almond butter and brown rice syrup over low heat until bubbles form. Quickly stir in the remaining ingredients and mix well. When cool enough to handle, press into baking pan. Cool completely. Cut into individual-size servings and wrap each one tightly.