I’m able to keep a pretty cool head around most sweet treats, but these lightly sweetened energy bars had me coming back for more. Part cookie, part granola bar, part irresistible snack of my dreams; they’re unlike any energy bar I’ve tried. They have an intoxicating combination of crunchy and chewy, with sweet bites of dried fruit and toasted coconut and seeds. They taste almost like a crunchy peanut butter cookie, thanks to the sunflower seed butter that binds all of the ingredients together.
Energy bars can be a convenient vending machine snack, and there are a seemingly endless variety of them lining grocery store shelves, but many of them aren’t as healthy as their fancy packaging suggests. Even those made with healthy ingredients can contain processed sugars, artificial ingredients, and have as much fat as a candy bar! And those chocolate-covered, or peanut butter-covered numbers are about as close to a candy bar as you can get!
Luckily, it’s so easy – and so much tastier – to make your own. In just a few minutes, you can create a healthy, snack to help you eat right when you’re on the go. All you need to do to bake a batch of these Super Seed Energy Bars is toast a few ingredients in a pan, combine them with honey and sunflower butter, press them into a pan and bake.
The most important step to bring out the depth of flavors in these energy bars is toasting the nuts and seeds. You may be tempted to save time and skip that step, but it takes less than five minutes and the way it improves the flavor and texture of the coconut, pecans, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds makes it absolutely worth the extra effort. Place the ingredients in a wide-bottomed pan over medium-low heat and stir them constantly to get an even toasting. Don’t walk away from them while they are cooking, because they can quickly turn from toasted to burnt beyond recognition!
Super Seed Energy Bars
Total Time: 36 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 21 min.
Yield: 12 servings, 1 bar each
Nonstick cooking spray
¾ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
½ cup chopped raw pecans (or walnuts or cashews)
⅓ cup sesame seeds
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¼ cup ground flax seeds
¼ cup unsweetened dried cranberries (or unsweetened dried fruit like apricots, blueberries, raisins, or cherries)
¼ tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
¼ cup raw honey
¼ cup sunflower seed butter
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
2. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper. Lightly coat with spray. Set aside.
3. Cook coconut, pecans, sesame seeds, and pumpkin seeds in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until toasted.
4. Place coconut mixture, flax seeds, cranberries, and salt in a large mixing bowl; mix well.
5. Add honey and sunflower seed butter; mix well.
6. Place mixture in prepared pan. Press down hard to pack mixture evenly in pan. (Packing the mixture will prevent the bars from crumbling.)
7. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes. Cool bars completely before cutting.
8. Lift parchment paper from pan; cut into 12 bars.
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