Here's a snack that's lightly sweetened and packed with nourishment. I think of these DIY power bars as a healthy riff on a rice Krispie treat — but they are are actually tastier than their marshmallow-butter laden cousins. Here's a recipe for them, adapted from and inspired by one of our favorite bloggers and cookbook authors.
When the hours between lunch and dinner stretch on too long, these power bars are just the thing to break up the afternoon. They are perfect with a cup of tea, full of strong flavors and complex textures. Hitting the sweet, salty, crunchy notes of taste, they really make a satisfying little morsel. I'd recommend one of these bars for a good on-the-go breakfast as well.
Best of all, this recipe is very adaptable to variations based on your own preferences and what you have on hand. Don't like walnuts? Substitute almonds or honey-roasted peanuts would be grand. Dried cranberries not your thing? Dried apricots or cherries would be lovely as a replacement. I'll definitely be tinkering with a pistachio apricot version next time, think of those contrasting colors and textures!
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/4 cups chopped toasted walnuts
1/2 cup oat bran
1 1/2 cups puffed cereal you like, pounded into smallish bits (I used Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins and Shredded wheat, both with success)
1 cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
3 pieces of dried crystallized ginger, finely chopped
1 cup brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
First grease an 8" x 8" baking pan with the oil. In a large bowl, stir together all the dry ingredients. Combine the brown rice syrup and vanilla together into a small bowl. Heat in microwave for 30 seconds or cook on stove in a small pot until slightly warm and a little thinner in texture. Pour onto dry ingredients. Press the mixture into the greased pan. Freeze for about 45 minutes, until hardened. Cut slices as big or small as you like. Store in the fridge.
(Images: Leela Cyd Ross)