Thursday, November 4, 2010

Brown Rice (Crispies) Espresso Nut Power Bars

This is another fantastic recipe of Heidi Swanson's that I have been dying to make for over a year. A rainy day finally allowed me to choose making these over running errands. Good call because they are FANTASTIC tasting. Heidi calls them 'Big Sur Power Bars'--here is her post. You can also see her soothing video. I love the use of the brown rice syrup--it was my first time making something with it. Cool idea for a sweetener.

Heidi also says that if you can't find the crisp brown rice cereal, it's fine to use regular rice cereal (for ex: Rice Crispies - just stay clear of "puffed" rice cereal, it will throw the recipe off). Apparently, you can feel free to substitute other types of nuts, seeds, or whatever little goodies you can dream up. But, I made them pretty much exactly as her recipe, except my espresso beans are chocolate covered. Of course they are. And yes, I doubled the recipe for a 9X13 inch pan since we like thicker bars and I have a sneaking suspicion they bind better when they are thicker.

Here's what you'll need (the only thing missing from my picture is the pecans-sorry, forgot to include):


1 tablespoon coconut oil (or regular butter)
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup slivered almonds
2/3 cup (unsweetened) shredded coconut
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups unsweetened crisp brown rice cereal
1 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 tablespoons ground espresso beans (I used chocolate-covered espresso beans-yum!)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the pecans, almonds, and coconut for about 7 minutes, or until the coconut is deeply golden. Toss once or twice along the way.

Meanwhile, grease a baking pan with the coconut oil. If you like thick power bars, opt for an 8 by 8-inch pan; for thinner bars, use a 9 by 13-inch pan.

Mix the toasted nuts, oats, coconut, and brown rice cereal together in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine the brown rice syrup, sugar, salt, espresso, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat and stir constantly as it comes to a boil and thickens just a bit, about 4 minutes. Pour the syrup over the oat/nut/cereal mixture and stir until it is evenly incorporated.

Spread this mixture into the prepared pan and cool to room temperature before cutting into whatever size bars you desire.

Makes approximately 16 to 24 bars.

*I have noticed that these bars do better if they are stored in waxed or parchment paper in a tupperware container in the fridge. The cold keeps the bars together since they do not have any fat besides what is in the nuts.

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