[Post #42 for 365 days of Vegan, Gluten-Free, Portable Power Pucks]
Granola bars abound on the web, but I think you’ll want to bookmark my latest rendition for a variety of reasons.
Topping the list: delicious! That always be the starting point. Moving on, these have the following attributes:
*3 ordinary ingredients
*Sweetened with fruit (and it does not have to be dates!)
*Only 135 calories each
*Frugal (aka cheap!)
*No cutting into bars required! (more on this later…)
*Easy–to make, eat and transport.
I’m guessing (hoping!) I have your attention. If not, take a gander at these:
Instead of syrup and sugar, I rely on dried fruit, soaked in water and then processed into a paste. The soaking ensures that the sticky mix holds the oats in place. You’ll reserve some of the soaking liquid, too (one of my tricks).
I’ve used plenty of dates to make granola bars and power bars, but dates can be expensive and hard to find, so I tested these with raisins, too. They work perfectly with either. You could also use prunes or soft, moist dried apricots, whatever floats your boat.
You can use plain oats, but I recommend that you (make that PLEAD with you! :)) to take 4-5 minutes to toast the oats. You will taste the difference immediately–the bars taste rich and nutty, without adding nuts. You do not need to turn on the oven to do it–simply throw the oats into a large skillet and stir them around a but until they are golden brown and smell toasty.
Heat a bit of creamy nut or seed butter (the second glue component) and then stir everything together, divide among some greased muffin cups, and tamp down. The bottom side of a 1/4-cup size measure works like a charm (give the bottom side a spraying or greasing to prevent sticking).
Now here’s my favorite part about these bars: No. Cutting. Required.
Cutting granola bars can be a pain, or, in some cases, downright beastly. Crumbles, uneven bars, unresolved corners and end pieces…Why not skip it? Hence, although I am calling these bars, let’s be frank: they are pucks. Perfectly portable power pucks, to be specific.
You will not even need to run a knife around the edge of the cups to extract the puck. So long as you spray or grease (as instructed), these lovelies need no more than a nudge of the knife to lift up and out.
As with most granola bars, these are highly customize-able. Replace some of the oats with toasted nuts or seeds, add different spices and extracts, make minis in a mini muffin pan, and so much more.
Just puck it.
- ½ cup (packed) raisins or dates
- 1-1/4 cups rolled oats (certified GF as needed)
- 2 tablespoons creamy nut or seed butter (I used sunflower seed butter)
- Grease or spray 6 cups of a standard muffin tin.
- Place the raisins in a small bowl and cover with enough hot (not boiling) water to cover. Let stand 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, spread the oats in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes until golden brown and the oats smell toasty and nutty. Transfer oats to a medium bowl.
- Drain the raisins, serving 3 tablespoons soaking liquid. Process the driained raisins in a small food processor or blender until smooth and pasty.
- Melt the nut butter in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Add the reserved liquid and raisin paste. Cook and stir for about 30 to 60 seconds until blended and warmed through. Immediately pour over oats, stirring to combine.
- Divide mixture among prepared cups. Very firmly tamp (press) mixture into the cups (use the bottom of a measuring cup). Place in freezer for 30 minutes.
- Insert knife at edge of each puck to loosen and lift out.