Since our October challenge we have been experimenting with raw snacks to combat the gaping hole left by the omission of refined sugars (read cakes and biscuits, albeit homemade) from our diet. There was never a significant amount of sweet things, but a cake was made ever couple of weeks. Recognising the error of our ways, we had taken to freezing half, but that just meant the cake lasted longer. Once the first half was gone, there was the second half lurking, waiting to be defrosted. Although this strategy was meant to minimise waste, (there was only three of us eating it), in reality it meant we just had fresh cake more often.The onset of October meant that had to change – and it did. Enter raw energy bars.
Raw energy bars are whatever you decide to put in them: oats, almonds, coconut, cranberries, apricots, dates, and any seed of choice. The list is limited by your pantry or imagination. Essentially it’s whatever takes your fancy. But when you have all these dry ingredients, you need something to bind them together. More often than not it’s dates (try the Date and Walnut Energy Squares) or peanut butter. Using dates, you need a food processor. And that’s a problem if you don’t have one. Peanut butter on the other hand…all you need is a bowl and a spoon.
The other great thing about using peanut butter is it comes in all sorts of varieties. In fact you could use any nut butter you find that takes your fancy. I was recently coerced into buying a peanut & cacao spread on the basis that it reminded said coercers of a similar product bought from Whole Foods whilst on holiday in Hawaii. Needless to say, it tasted nothing like the memory, and was left to lie dormant on the pantry shelf. Until the onset of the energy bar revolution. It suddenly became a winner.
Using oats, peanut butter, maple syrup, and vanilla essence as a base, the rest is up to you. Just make sure you use the same quantities of raw ingredients. To be honest, the end of the packet of choc chips has even ended up in the mixture. I’m not sure if that really meets with the October challenge guidelines…but what the heck, its November.
When you’re making these squares remember that pressing the mixture into the tin will make it all come together. Use the palm of your hand and all your body weight, and it will moosh together perfectly. If you find it isn’t moist enough just a little add extra peanut butter. Enjoy!
- 1½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- ½ cup almonds, roughly chopped
- ½ cup cranberries
- 1 cup peanut cacao spread (or peanut butter)
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a 22cm x 22cm tin with baking paper. If the tin is a bit smaller it doesn't matter, they'll just end up thicker.
- Place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
- Add the peanut butter mixture to the dry ingredients and mix through making sure everything is coated in the peanut butter mixture.
- Tip the mixture into the baking tin and press down firmly until the top is smooth.
- Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours or until it feels solid.
- Cut into small squares. Store in the refrigerator so they stay nice and hard.