Friday, November 11, 2011

Healthy Food Bar in 15 Minutes


Healthy Food Bar in 15 Minutes

This is mostly based on the recipe found in “Fuel Your Run the Tarahumara Way” sold at http://pinolerecipes.com/.  There are some other good recipes in there as well and if you're interested in good vegan snacks, it's a good place to start.  

I've tweaked the food bar recipe somewhat and I'm able to bang out this batch in 15 minutes.  The key is preparation.

Shopping

Health food store list
Chia Seeds
Ground Flax Seed
Cornmeal (if not at commercial store)
MCT oil (you may need to special order from Bodybuilding.com or Parrillo.com) – you may substitute a light vegetable oil or coconut oil

Commercial store list
Bob’s Red Mill Cornmeal (medium or coarse grind)
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds (spiced or plain) also known as Pepitas
Raisens (organic if possible, Sun Maid otherwise)
Cooking Oats, Dried Cranberries (optional)
Semi-Sweet morsals (optional)
Vanilla extract
Grade-A Honey (buy largest size you can get, usually 48 oz.)
Salt

Batch Ingredients
1.5 Cup Cooking Oats
0.5 Cup Pepitas/Pumpkin Seeds
3 Tbsp Chia Seeds
1-2 Tbsp Flax Seed
1 Cup Pinole
¼ cup raisens
1/3 cup cranberries
¼ to 1/3 cup semi-sweet morsals, depending on taste
4 Tbsp MCT Oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ cup honey (6oz)
¼ tsp salt

Pre-Preparation of Pinole
Toast off the cornmeal.  Get your largest frying pan, heat it up, and pour in half the cornmeal.  Keep moving it around until it uniformly turns a copper color.  It will become fragrant like popcorn.  The darker it gets, the more “burnt” or “toasted” it will taste (think burnt popcorn).  Pour off into a large mixing bowl and toast the rest.  Let it cool and store in a ziplock bag in the fridge if not using right away (it should yield 4 batches).

Making the Bars
This is the order that I do things to optimize time:

1.  On large ungreased cookie sheet (with edges), spread out cooking oats and Pepitas/Pumpkin seeds.  Put oven on broil and roast for 4 minutes (I don’t pre-heat).  Depending on your oven you may burn the oats/seeds quicker, so check every minute.  If you can smell it, it’s probably done.  Don’t worry if there’s not uniform toasting.

2.  In large mixing bowl, combine Pinole, raisens, cranberries, chia seeds and salt.  Flax if you’re using it.

3.  Put Honey into giant Pyrex measuring cup and boil it in the microwave for 3 minutes.  In mine I have to go 3:15, but too much and it gets burnt, and not enough it won’t thicken properly, so you’ll need to experiment.  The Honey bubbles up high so you need a big (4 cup) measuring cup.

4.  Oats and seeds should be done oven roasting by now.  Let cool for a minute.  While waiting on the Honey to be done, measure out MCT Oil into a glass container and the vanilla.  If putting in semi-sweet morsals, measure them out now and set aside.

5.  When Honey is ready, remove from microwave with pot holder or towel.  Carefully pour in the MCT Oil (vanilla will bubble up violently).  Set aside.

6.  Pour Oats and Pumpkin Seeds into the dry mixing bowl.   Fold over a few times.

7.  Pour honey into mixing bowl and fold over dry ingredients with wooden spoon.  When everything is just about nearly coated, pour in the morsals (if using).  Fold them in.  They will melt a little or a lot depending on how much the mixture has cooled, but you must do this while the mixture is very warm.

8.  Pour out mixture into a 7x7 ungreased glass container.  Flatten with a plastic flipper.  You are done.  Cover with plastic wrap and let cool for an hour.

9.  Unwrap and using a good serrated knife, cut in half and then the other way 5 or 6 times to yield 10-12 bars.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

10.  Using a metal flipper, extract the bars and put into ziplock bags.  Store in fridge.

11.  Let warm to room temperature before eating.  Use a microwave for 5-8 seconds to accelerate the process.

Other Notes
This is the basic recipe, but I’ve added nuts, craisens and other stuff to “fill” it.  If using less additives, slightly back off the honey content (never less than ½ a cup though). 

If the mixture is too dry before panning, I’ve added some blue agave (unheated) to help get it moist enough.  

Let me know how you've improved this recipe, I'm always looking for ideas!


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