by Lauren Chandler, Chef Instructor, MSW
These bars take all of 10 minutes to make, and will fuel you throughout the week. After tasting these and seeing how quick it is to prepare them, you will be less likely to buy store bought bars. Kids and adults (and Kwan Yin practitioners! have given this recipe rave reviews, and Portland Monthly Magazine called it “the last energy bar recipe you’ll ever need.”
Think of this recipe as a template – you can add your own twist to it by adding cinnamon, cardamom, or another spice. Swap out the almond butter for a different nut or seed butter, use a different dried fruit. Orange zest is great in these too. Enjoy!
CACAO QUICO BARS
Makes seven 1.7 ounce bars (about the size of a Lara Bar)
1/3 cup *quicos (if you can’t find quicos, feel free to substitute plantain chips, pretzels, roasted nuts, or another favorite crunchy treat)
3/4 cup gluten-free oats
1 cup pitted Medjool dates (around 10 plump dates)
1/2 cup almond butter
3 tablespoons cacao powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a food processor, pulse the quicos until they resemble coarse sand and small pebbles, then remove and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
Add the oats to the food processor and process until they resemble coarse sand. Add the remaining ingredients and process until the mixture sticks together when you squeeze it into a ball with your hands. You may need to scrape the mixture down from the sides of the container. If the dates or almond butter aren’t moist enough for the mixture to stick together, sprinkle in water, a few drops at a time, until the mixture sticks. Transfer to the mixing bowl and use your hands to evenly fold in the ground quicos.
Press the mixture into a 9×9 baking dish and refrigerate before cutting into bars. Alternatively, roll into balls. Store in the refrigerator for a firmer texture.
* Quicos are Spanish-style crunchy corn nuts you can find at New Seasons or Whole Foods by the cheese counter.