5-ish Ingredient Bar

5-ingredient bars 1

Out of all the bars I’ve made recently, this is the best one. I put the crisp rice cereal as optional because it works either way. When you don’t include the rice cereal, the bar is quite dense. If you add the rice cereal, there’s a nice crunchiness and a lightness that’s added.
Pros: Sticks together well. Nice balance of flavors.
Cons: Still pretty sweet. And not sure how much I like dates.

5-ish Ingredient Bar
Source: Minimalist Baker

Makes about: one 8×8 pan
Prep time: 10 minutes+30 min chill

Ingredients
1 cup dates, packed
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup almond butter
1 cup roasted almonds, chopped
1 1/2 cup oats
(1 cup crisp rice cereal)–optional. include for a lighter, crunchier bar

Directions
1. Chop dates into small pieces (or use a food processor)
2. Mix together maple syrup and almond butter. May need to use microwave to facilitate this.
3. Mix together maple syrup, almond butter, dates, almonds, oats, and rice cereal (if using).
4. Pour into prepared and lined 8×8 pan and evenly distribute.
5. Let chill for 20-30 minutes,
6. Cut into bars.

top: date bar from ProBar's founder middle: baked oat bar bottom: this bar
top: date bar from ProBar’s founder
middle: baked oat bar
bottom: this bar

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ProBar Founder’s Bar of Dates

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ProBars are really good, but they are really expensive. No one’s posted a good copycat version, but there’s this one from the company’s founder. It’s good if you like dates…it’s basically a large block of dates with stuff studded inside. I’m not that big of a date fan, so I’m probably not making these again.
Pros: It sticks together really well.
Cons: It’s overpoweringly sweet and only tastes like dates.

ProBar Founder’s Bar of Dates
Source: BullickFood

Makes about: 16 little bars (1” x 4”)
Prep time: 10 minutes mixing, 20 minutes chilling

Ingredients
12oz chopped dates
1.5 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (instead of the allspice, cardamom)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used almonds)
1/2 cup rolled oats or granola
1/2 cup chopped dried fruit (I added more almonds, because it seemed excessive to have dried fruit embedded in more dried fruit)

Directions
1) Mix together dates, maple syrup, and vanilla. It will be a large sticky mass.
2) Stir in salt, cinnamon
3) Stir in nuts, oats, and dried fruit (if using).
4) Scrape the mass onto a piece of wax paper or silicone mat. Cover with another piece of wax paper and roll to about 1/2” thickness.
5) Cut into bars

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Baked Oatmeal Bar

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baked oat bar 2

These are basically like my breakfast…just baked. John thinks they taste like pumpernickel bread, although they bear no resemblance to the real thing.
Pros: They hold together. They are not very rich or sweet.
Cons: The texture is a little off–a bit mushy inside. They are also a bit weirdly salty, so I’d decrease the salt next time.

Baked Oatmeal Bar
Source: Kath Eats Real Food

Makes about: one 8×8 pan
Prep time: 10 minutes
Bake time: 40 minutes baking

Ingredients
1/2 cup oats
1 cup muesli (Bob’s Red Mill)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup flax seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup almond milk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Special equipment
none

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Prepare 9×9 pan by lining with parchment paper
3. Mix together almond milk, vanilla, eggs
4. Mix in oats, muesli, walnuts, chocolate chips, flax seeds, cinnamon, salt.
5. Pour into prepared pan.
6. Bake 40 minutes
7. Let cool, then cut into bars.

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baked oat bar 4

Nutty Bars

In search of the perfect bar…
We went on a 50 miles ride up Mount Tam and ate 5 different types of bars during that ride: 2 Clif bars, 1 Bonk Breaker, 1 Picky Bar, 1 Pro Bar, and 1 Kate’s Tram Bar. Hunger is an excellent sauce, so they were all quite delicious. We especially enjoyed the ProBar and the Tram Bar (maybe because they were more like real food).
Packaged bars definitely have a place in long rides, but these bars are pretty expensive as regular snacks (especially since eating a Luna Bar a day does add up). I wanted to see whether I could find a suitable replacement bar. I’ve tried a few interesting recipes off of Google, with interesting results…the next few posts are some of the attempts I’ve made.

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Nutty Bars (aka Homemade Clif Bars)
Source: Power Hungry

John thinks these taste like Nutty Bars. I omitted the dried fruits and nuts, mainly because I didn’t feel like putting them in. The resulting bar was very sweet and heavily peanut flavored. Basically–a more portable way to transport peanut butter.
Pros: It actually held together. There’s a nice mix of textures.
Cons: Very sweet. When it gets warm, they starts to melt and fall apart (all those unsaturated fats in the peanut butter). They’re also kind of greasy.

Makes about: an 8×8 pan
Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: No baking

Ingredients
1 1/4 cup crispy brown rice cereal (from Whole Foods)
1 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp ground flax seed
1/3 cup agave syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
(1/4 cup dried fruit)
(1/4 cup chopped nuts)

Special equipment
a bowl and 8×8 pan

Directions
1. Mix together brown rice cereal, oats, flax seeds, and fruit/nuts if using.
2. Melt together syrup and peanut butter. Mix in vanilla.
3. Pour peanut butter/syrup mixture over the dry mixture.
4. Mix till combined.
5. Press into baking pan lined with waxed paper.
6. Refrigerate. Then cut.

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Maple Almond Butter

We eat almond butter with muesli every morning, but it’s quite expensive at the store, especially given how much we consume every week. This is a delicious and easy alternative.

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Maple Almond Butter
Source: Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

Makes about: 1 cup
Prep time: 20 mins baking, 10 mins cooling, 5-10 mins grinding

Ingredients
1 1/2 cup raw almonds
3 tbsp maple syrup
pinch salt

Special equipment
Food processor

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 325F.
2. Mix together almonds and maple syrup. Place on silicone baking sheet.
3. Roast almonds for 20 minutes.
4. Let cool for 10 minutes, then place into food processor.
5. Grind until almond butter forms (for me, it took 3 minutes).