I live in Burlington, Ontario where we’re a short drive away from several stunning conservation parks along the Escarpment and Bruce Trail. We still get out for hikes in the winter, but once the temperatures start to warm and the paths easier to walk for our pup, we get out to hike and scramble as much as we can!
Homemade snacks for hiking adventures are so much healthier, less expensive, and tastier than the ones you can buy in stores. I had chocolate on the brain this past weekend and was inspired by the flavour combination of cocoa and pecans for these chewy, easy-to-make (and even easier-to-eat) energy bars.
With gentle sweet and salty flavours, these energy bars are a healthy and delicious snack that will keep your stomach full and your mind and body energized!
Makes 24 bars
- 2 cups puffed rice
- 2 cups puffed kamut (or puffed grain of choice i.e. millet, more rice, etc.)
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 cup cocoa nibs
- 1 cup pecans
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 cup brown rice syrup
- ½ cup tahini
- ½ cup almond butter
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tbsp. sweet white miso
- pinch salt
- 1 tbsp. vanilla extract (optional)
In a large glass bowl, coat puffed grains with cinnamon. Mix cocoa nibs throughout and set aside.
In a stainless steel pan, gently toast pecans, walnuts, and almonds until golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool.
Prepare a large (or two large) trays as molds for your bars. I used a large pan with a low rim (only about 1 inch high) that measured approximately 24 inches x 12 inches. Grease the trays with a flavourless oil (i.e. safflower) or line the trays with a non-stick material such as parchment or wax paper – I used parchment paper to line the trays and to wrap the bars.
In a stainless steel sauce pan, heat the brown rice syrup, tahini, almond butter, maple syrup, white miso, salt, and vanilla extract over medium-high heat until bubbling, whisking constantly. Lower the heat to medium or just below and continue to whisk while the mixture bubbles and caramelizes for a few minutes.
If you haven’t already, transfer the cooled nuts to the bowl with the puffed cereals.
Pour the hot mixture over all the dry ingredients and quickly mix thoroughly with a spatula. The chocolate bits will most likely melt completely with the heat – either way (fully melted or with chocolate bits) is delicious!
Transfer to lined tray(s) and, using the spatula or your hands (wet), spread the mixture evenly over the whole tray. Don’t be afraid to be rough here and add a lot of pressure – the more pressure you have, the firmer the bars will form.
I had two large trays of the same size, so I also lined the top of the bars with wax paper and placed the second tray on top. At first I just pressed down with as much of my upper body weight as possible, until I decided to move the tray to the floor and stand on it for a minute or so. I figured that would give the bars great form!
Allow the bars to cool to room temperature before removing them from the tray. Cut the bars into your desired shape, wetting your knife with cold water as often as necessary for clean cuts.
I decided to wrap my bars in wax paper this time around for a few reasons: 1) they tend to stick to one another, and this eliminates sticking both when storing and enjoying, 2) it makes them super easy to pack for on-the-go snacking.
I’ll be experimenting with more flavour combinations to share with you all in the future, but feel free to get creative yourself and change up the recipe based on whatever flavours you want to enjoy for the day! Dried fruit easily replaces the chocolate for a totally different flavour profile.