Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Chocolate-Cranberry Power Bars

  These bars are so ooey-gooey delicious, that it is hard to just have one. Yes, they are a little on the messy side, but if you wrap them up individually in plastic wrap or parchment paper, it's not too bad. There is one ingredient in them that I don't use too often...brown rice syrup. Check out what it is towards the bottom of this post and where you can find it. If you absolutely can not find brown syrup in your area, you can swap it out with honey, but then omit the agave syrup so the bars are not overly sweet. 

The recipe is adapted from the 101Cookbooks Blog. You can check out Heidi's original recipe here.
Bars Recipe 
Serves: 24 Bars Prep: 15 minutes Cooking Time: 7 minutes

 1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup (unsweetened) shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups Rice Crispies
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup agave syrup 

1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup cranberries
Cooking Spray  

1.Lay out walnuts, almonds, coconut, and oats on baking sheet. Bake at 350*F for 7 minutes.
  2. Meantime, add Rice Crispies to a large bowl.
 3. Once oat mixture has toasted in the oven, add to Rice Crispies.
  4. Add cranberries to oat mixture.

 5. Add brown rice syrup through vanilla extract to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, constantly stirring for 4 minutes.
  6. Add chocolate sauce to oat mixture and stir well together.
    7. Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray. Add mixture to pan, and flatten with the back of a measuring cup.
  8. Let cool to room temperature for about 1 hour or stick it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to harden. Flip pan over on top of a cutting board or use a metal spatula to cut into squares while still  in pan. Cut into 24 squares. Refrigerate indivudal squares wrapped in plastic wrap or parchment paper.


Plan and Prep Ahead 

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner. 

~make oat mixture ahead of time


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP? 

~Try adding flaxseed powder instead of coconut. 
~Add raisins, dried cherries, dried apricots instead of dried cranberries. 
~Replace espresso powder instead of cocoa powder for a different twist. 
~Use pecans, pistachios, or chopped hazlenuts instead of walnuts. 
~Substitute cane sugar with agave syrup. 
What is brown rice syrup?
Brown rice syrup is "derived by culturing cooked rice with enzymes (usually from dried barley sprouts) to break down the startches, then straining off the liquid and reducing it by cooking until the desired consistency is reached." ~Wikipedia You can find brown rice syrup at any natural food store or in some grocery stores in their natural food section. It's definitely not overly sweet like honey and has a much milder flavor. It does have a sticky texture that is similar to honey though, so you can swap it out easily in recipes.

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