GoTo Bars

Say goodbye to your store-bought energy bars like cliff bars and power bars. Here's a recipe for an energy bar that has half the calories, twice the nutrients, loaded with whole-grain fiber and great taste. You never know when hunger will strike, but when it does, take advantage of those moments to nourish yourself.  When I'm on the go in the morning, this is a great breakfast. You can change the ingredients in this recipe to fit your taste preferences. Split the batter and make half with currant and cranberries and the other half with walnuts or whatever you’d like. These bars come together very quickly with a food processor, but if you don’t have one, hand-chopping the fruit and nuts works just as well.


MAKES: 16 bars
PREP TIME: 15 minutes
COOK TIME: 30 minutes

1 cup raw pecan halves
1 cup whole raw almonds
4 tablespoons brown rice flour or gluten-free flour mix, or coconut flour
2 tablespoons finely ground flaxseeds
¼ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
¼ cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup pitted dates (preferably Medjool), quartered
1 cup dried sweetened cranberries (or 1/2 cup cranberries & 1/2 cup blueberries)
1 organic egg
5 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 °F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly oil a 9-inch square pan. Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and toast for 7 to 10 minutes, until aromatic and slightly browned. Alternatively toast in a non-stick skillet (with no oil). Either way, watch them carefully, as they can burn easily. Repeat this process for the almonds. Turn down the oven to 325 °F.

Combine the flour, flaxseeds, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a food processor and process for 5 seconds to combine. Add the pecans and almonds and pulse 5 times to coarsely chop the nuts. Add the oats, dates, and cranberries and pulse 10 to 15 times, until the mixture is well chopped but still coarse.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg, maple syrup, and vanilla together until thoroughly combined. Add the fruit and nut mixture and use your hands to mix thoroughly, being sure to separate any clumps of fruit. Spread the mixture in the oiled baking pan in an even layer and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until set and golden brown; don’t over bake, or the bars will be too dry. Let cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then cut into 25 squares. Leave the bars in the pan until completely cool so they’ll hold together when you remove them.

VARIATIONS: When it comes to changing up the mixture, the only limit is your imagination. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

•Use walnuts instead of pecans.
•Add ¼ cup dried apricots, cherries, blueberries, raisins, or currants when mixing together at the end.
•Add 1 tablespoon of grated orange zest when mixing together at the end.
•Add 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds when mixing together at the end.
•Add ¼ cup of unsweetened shredded coconut when mixing together at the end.

COOK’S NOTE: While oats don’t contain gluten, they’re often processed alongside wheat, so if your sensitivity to gluten is extreme, an alternative would be to use Bob’s Red Mill gluten-free oats.

STORAGE: Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 to 7 days or in the freezer for 2 months.

Adapted from Katz, Rebecca; Edelson, Mat. The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen, Second Edition: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery

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