Teen Cuisine New Vegetarian recipe for Smart Muesli Bars
If you have a nut allergy, omit the almonds and double the amount of sunflower seeds. Or you can substitute almonds for pine nuts (which are seeds). For the peanut butter, use sunflower seed butter instead. For almond milk, try substituting coconut or rice milk.
Other substitutions could be to use coconut palm sugar instead of raw or brown sugar and agave nectar instead of honey or maple syrup. Also, feel free to use a buttery spread instead of butter. Experiment with different nuts, seeds and dried fruit (maybe even a little unsweetened shredded coconut) and have fun with this recipe – see the Chef’s Tip below!
Smart Bars - Vegetarian
When you don’t have time for breakfast or lunch, or want something different to serve at your next get-together, Smart Bars are the solution. Shop for quality dried fruits for this recipe, preferably without sulfites or other preservatives. Plan ahead so that after the bars have baked, they have time to set before you cut them. If you rush the process, the bars may crumble, making it harder to transport them. Patience will pay off. The combination of nuts, oats, wheat germ, and dried fruit come together in a classic granola bar that will make you forget the ones that sell in supermarkets.
Makes 16 bars
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/2 cup raw almonds
1 cup raisins or other chopped dried fruit
1/2 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup chopped dates
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 cup dried blueberries or other dried berries
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
1/4 cup firmly packed raw (turbinado) or light brown sugar
1/2 cup all-natural chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
Generously oil the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 325°F with a rack in the middle of the oven.
Combine the oats and wheat germ in a medium bowl. Pour the mixture evenly across a dry 13- by 18-inch heavy-duty metal baking sheet.
Bake undisturbed on the middle rack of the oven for 15 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, but don’t turn off the oven.
In the meantime, carefully fit the all-purpose blade in a food processor.
Add the almonds and close the lid. Process for 15 seconds or until the almonds are finely chopped.
Add the raisins, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and dates; process for about 15 seconds or until coarsely chopped.
Add the eggs and flour to the food processor and process for 15 seconds.
Transfer the fruit-and-nut mixture from the food processor to a large bowl.
Add the oat mixture and the blueberries. Mix well to coat all the ingredients. Set the bowl aside.
Combine the butter, honey, sugar, and peanut butter in a small saucepan and melt over low heat, stirring until smooth.
Add the butter mixture to the fruit mixture along with the almond milk and toss well to combine and coat all the ingredients.
Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish, packing it down firmly into an even thickness. A spatula will work well for this. Wet your hands and pack firmly again, pressing the mixture into the pan. The better packed the mixture, the less likely it is to crumble when you cut it.
Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 45 minutes. It is all right if the top of the bars get browned.
Let the bars cool on a wire cooling rack for 15 minutes.
Cut the bars into 16 squares.
Let them cool completely at room temperature for 1 hour, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Wrap the bars individually in wax paper, aluminum foil, or plastic wrap and keep refrigerated until you are ready to serve. They can also be frozen.
You can use your favorite combination of dried fruits and seeds. Just make sure it adds up to 2 3/4 cups.
Recipe courtesy of Teen Cuisine: New Vegetarian and www.thismamacooks.com .