food

My Favorite Maca Energy Bars

This has been my go-to quick-grab snack recipe lately. They come together quickly and satisfy a sweet, salty or crunchy hunger craving. It’s not my original recipe, but I am sharing my variation here along with a link to the original.

These bars are super customizable, so any add-ins that you like best or have on hand will do. That’s the great thing about no-bake granola bars – you can pretty much throw in whatever you want as long as the wet/dry ratio is the same (not saying it will always taste good, though). However, these have a base of peanut butter, coconut oil and honey, so, really, what could go wrong?

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These bars do not require baking (just a set-up in the fridge or freezer), which is a plus. The only downside to this is that they are best eaten straight from the fridge and will soften up and be less crisp and satisfying (melty, even) once brought to room temp, so if you take them on the go, don’t forget an ice pack. These are kind of like a cool, melt-in-your-mouth peanut butter ice cream bar with mega crunch, only much healthier!

My photography skills are pretty lacking lately, but I love the colors in these bars and the nice, sharp edges you get, showcasing the ingredients, once cut. They’re as much a joy to look at as they are to eat, in my eyes.

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Do they actually boost energy? I don’t know, but they do keep me alive while I attend to my toddlers every need instead of sitting down to a gourmet meal. And they’re super delicious, so they double as a desert half the time. Speaking of doubling – I usually double the recipe because the original makes 8 bars and that hardly lasts the week around here (even when I’m the only one eating them).

Also – I mustn’t forget to point out – the original recipe doesn’t have chocolate in it. Who the heck makes a granola bar without chocolate (no offense Superfoods Living)?! So, as you’ll see, my version includes both chocolate chunks (or chips) AND, the best chocolatey crunch on the face of this planet: cacao nibs. Stick with dark chocolate chunks if you don’t want them too sweet or go for the semi-sweet chips if you do. Semi-sweet would be my husband’s choice and he says he would eat these more often if I coated them in chocolate as well. Oh well, more for me.

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Some quick notes for the heath nuts: If you want them even healthier, you can try almond or cashew butter in place of the peanut butter. They will be less sweet, so maybe try half almond and half peanut butter before swapping it all out (unless you’re an almond butter fanatic, which I am not). I don’t think I’ve tried almond butter with this recipe, but I have with others and I didn’t like it nearly as much as the peanut butter. I have a chronic need to make anything and everything as healthy as possible, so I’m prone to making all kinds of substitutions like that and then ending up with a seriously sub-par result most of the time (i.e. the opposite of fluffy whole wheat cinnamon rolls with banana filling or several batches of brownies that turned out actually like a dry, bland chocolate cake due to lack of sugar), so using lots of peanut butter in granola bar/ball recipes is something I’ve been learning to just go with.

What type of maca powder to use? Gelatinized maca is pricer than regular maca, but it’s worth it because it’s the most concentrated and easily digested form. Not only is maca touted to enhance energy, but it balances hormones as well (not recommended while pregnant). I also use it in some smoothies and just love the caramel-like nutty taste. I get most of my superfoods from Vitacost and always rely on Navitas Naturals to be the best quality and taste. Most health food stores like Whole Foods also carry a wide selection of superfoods.

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After I make any granola bar, I usually wrap them individually in plastic wrap for easy grab-and-go. Not very eco-friendly, I know, but at least I recycle the plastic wrap after? Although, since I mostly eat these at home nowadays, I suppose I should consider just throwing them in a Tupperware instead. Etee food wraps might be an eco-friendly wrapping option. I am looking forward to trying those one day, but can’t speak to their effectiveness at this time. I did not have good success with Bee’s Wrap.

Alright, so here is the original recipe from Superfoods Living. The only reason I’ve eliminated the sunflower seeds and flaxseed in my recipe is because we had to downsize our kitchen before moving into an RV and those two took the cut! These bars are just as delicious with the seeds as written by Superfoods Living (with the addition of chocolate, of course). Have a look at either ingredient list and use them as a guide to mix up your own list of faves – just remember to keep the amounts of dry and wet ingredients the same.

My Favorite Maca Superfood Energy Bars

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds)
  • 1/2 cup pistachios, chopped (or 1/4 c pistachios, 1/4 c almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts or other nut if you’re not that into pistachios)
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds, whole or ground
  • 2 tablespoons cacao nibs
  • 2 tablespoons maca powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup natural peanut butter, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup dried goji berries
  • 1/3-1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, pepitas, pistachios, chia seeds, cacao nibs maca powder, sea salt and cinnamon.
2. In a small saucepan, over low heat, melt the coconut oil, honey and peanut butter, stirring often, until smooth.
2. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the dry ingredients.
3. Stir to combine (a rubber spatula works well).
4. Add in the shredded coconut, goji berries & chocolate. Mix to combine.
5. In an 8×8 dish that has been lined with parchment paper, press the dough in firmly with a rubber spatula, a piece of parchment or your hands.
6. Place in the freezer to set for 45 minutes or the fridge for 2 hours.
7. Remove the bars from the freezer and use a sharp knife to cut into either 8 bars or smaller squares.
8. Store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.

Notes:

  • If you don’t have almond flour, just use roasted almonds and process them into fine bits. Don’t over process or you will end up with almond butter!
  • The shredded coconut, goji berries and chocolate are simply optional additions. Add whatever additions you like. Try dried fruit bits for a tropical taste!
  • Try maple syrup instead of raw honey as a sweetener

http://www.PopcornAndPomegranates.com

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