Todd hardly ever has time to sit and eat a healthy breakfast when he is home. Which makes it my personal mission to create healthy bars that he can eat on the go, that are delicious enough for him to actually stop and think about grabbing during his morning rush. Up until recently I have been making raw bars every week, and I have to admit they are my favorite, especially my new Almond Joy Raw Bars! However, I think that Todd has been secretly growing a little tired of them and has been longing for something different. How do I know that? Well, he quit grabbing them on the way out of the door, that means his taste buds are bored! So here is my answer to a new on-the-go breakfast bar, it takes a little more time than the raw bars, but when Todd ate the first one of these his eyes literally rolled up into his head and he declared that these bars were the most addictively delicious granola bars he had ever eaten! The real test was to see how long these granola bars lasted and if he actually remembered to grab them in the morning. I am happy to report that these bars were gone at a rate of 3 per day which tells me that they are a real winner if he is now carting them around for breakfast and healthy snack options. *Todd now compares their addict-ability to that of crack…I think that is supposed to be good although I assure you neither of us know anything about crack!
Rise & Shine Energy Bars
Inspired by Lara Ferroni’s Real Snacks
Makes 12 Bars
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup gluten-free oats
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup flax seeds
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
4 Tbsp. unsalted earth balance or butter
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. g-free vanilla extract
2 cups g-free puffed brown rice cereal
1/2 cup dried cranberries
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the pecans, oats, pine nuts, and flax seeds on the sheet and bake about 8 minutes or until fragrant. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
In a saucepan, bring the sugar, honey, butter or Earth Balance, and salt to a boil over medium heat. Simmer until the sugar dissolves and a light brown caramel forms, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Pour the caramel over the nut and oat mixture. Stir in the brown rice cereal and the cranberries until evenly coated.
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, extend the paper over the sides of the pan to use as a handle later. Pour the cereal mixture into the baking dish and spread out into an even layer. Cover the pan with a second piece of parchment and press down to compress the bars. Let the mixture stand for about 2 hours until firm.
Discard the top piece of parchment and use the “handles” from the second piece of parchment to gently remove the cereal square from the pan then cut the squares into 12 equal size bars and serve.
*I have been making a batch of these at the beginning of the week and wrapping them individually in plastic wrap. I keep them in the refrigerator so we can pull out as many as we want each morning. Just be sure to let them come to room temp before you eat them because they really harden up in the fridge, but they will soften back to a crispy, chewy granola bar in a few minutes.