I love to pack things like these to my kid’s lunch box. They are full of healthy ingredients and right calories. It is a bit of pain to find something similar in stores. There are plenty of energy bars, but nut-free ones are rare. So, I make them myself. It almost doesn’t take any time at all. Fruits, seeds, and cereal can be varied to suit any personal taste or budget. If the nut allergy is luckily not your problem, the bars can be made with any nut butter you prefer.
There’s one thing I want to point out. If you are making the bars for a nut allergy sufferer, make sure to read the ingredient list on a sunflower butter jar carefully. There are a few manufacturers who make this particular kind of butter in nut-free facilities. The most common brand, as I notice, makes all kinds of nut/seed butter together at one place, and probably uses the same mill for grinding.
Makes 16 bars
- 1½ cups puffed brown rice
- 1 cup puffed millet
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- ½ cup finely chopped dry apricots (unsulphured organic ones are awesome )
- ¼ cup raisins or chopped dates
- ¼ cup goji berries
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp sunflower butter
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup apricot jam
- generous pinch of salt
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Center the oven rack and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly spray a 9×9-inch square baking pan with oil, line with parchment paper, then spray the parchment.
In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients. Set aside.
In a small heavy saucepan combine the sunflower butter, honey, maple syrup, apricot jam, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. Take off the heat, whisk in the vanilla extract. Pour the mixture over the dry ingredients in the bowl. Stir quickly to combine. Transfer to the prepared baking pan and press down well. The mixture is sticky and difficult to handle, so you can lightly wet the hands or a spatula before pressing.
Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, until light golden. Remove the pan from the oven and, using a spoon or an offset spatula, compress the baked slab again. Cool completely in the pan on a rack. Just before cutting, place the pan into the freezer for 30 minutes–1 hour. Cut into bars using a sharp heavy knife, wiping it clean as needed between cuts.