Thursday, 3 May 2012

Healthy high fibre fruit-nut-coconut granola bars

The nice weather makes me think of going for long hikes, and the thought of long hikes has prompted me to make these nutritious and delicious granola bars. They have protein and fibre, crunchiness and chewiness, sweetness and saltiness, and are just delightful in every way.

The recipe (in case you want to try these too):
Ingredients to toast:
  • 2 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 3/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup chopped cashews
  • 1/2 cup uncooked wheat berries
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
Other ingredients:
  • 1/3 cup defatted soy flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup chopped dried pitted dates
Binder ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup margarine (I used a reduced fat and it worked just fine)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (dark brown sugar, if you can find it)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 – 4 tbsp water

Heat wheat bran, oat bran, and  almonds in a dry skillet separately until you smell a toasty smell. Allow them to cool on a baking tray while you toast wheat berries and quinoa in a hot, dry skillet, covered with a fitted lid. Shake the skillet periodically and listen for the popping sounds inside. Once the popping sounds have almost subsided, remove the grains to another baking tray to allow for cooling. The wheat berries and quinoa are now puffed and crunchy. While everything cools, gather and measure the "Other Ingredients" list.

To bind everything together, heat peanut butter, margarine, and brown sugar on low heat. Once mixture is smooth, more runny, and combined, toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Finally, add egg whites for structure, and enough water to until a crumbly cookie-dough texture forms. Press mixture into a flat, ~1.5 cm layer on two lined baking sheets and bake at 350 F for about 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Slice these into bars while they are still warm. These bars are tasty whether warm, at room temperature, or chilled. Happy trails!

Note: Don't use non-stick skillets because the dry heat and abrasiveness of the grains will damage the non-stick coating. Of course, feel free to make substitutes to suit your liking.

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