Energy Bars

Energy Bars | ChopChop

Description

These fruit-and-nut bars are super-easy to make (no adult needed!) and easy to adapt to your own tastes. Love pecans? Use all pecans. More of a mixed-nut person? Use mixed nuts. Keep trying these bars with different ingredients: we also like toasted sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and/or pumpkin seeds in place of some of the nuts. We’re not sure why, but every now and then these don’t turn out quite right-they’re crumbly instead of firm. If this happens, use it as a fruit or yogurt topping, and call it "granola!" 

Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total time: 10 minutes
Makes: 16 Pieces

Kitchen Gear: 

Cutting board
8 x 8-inch pan
Wax or parchment paper
Measuring cup
Measuring spoons
Medium-sized bowl
Small bowl
Large spoon
Dinner knife
Plastic wrap 

Ingredients

1⁄2 cup
lightly toasted nuts (one kind or a combination of almonds, walnuts, and pecans. To toast nuts, put them on a small baking sheet in a 350-degree oven until they are fragrant and look a shade darker, around 5 minutes)
3⁄4 cups
dried fruit (one kind or a combination of raisins, currants, dried cranberries or chopped dates, prunes, apricots, and peaches)
3⁄4 cups
quick-cooking oats
3⁄4 cups
crispy-rice cereal
2 tablespoons
unsweetened coconut (if you like)
1⁄2 cup
almond or peanut butter
1⁄4 cup
honey or maple syrup
1⁄2 teaspoon
vanilla extract

Instructions

Wash your hands with soap and water, then gather all your kitchen gear and ingredients and put them on a clean counter.

  1. Line the pan with wax or parchment paper and leave enough hanging so that you can use it to cover the bars later. (You will need a piece a little more than twice the size of the bottom of the pan.)
  2. Put the nuts, dried fruit, oats, rice cereal, and coconut in the bowl and toss well.
  3. Put the almond or peanut butter and honey in the small bowl and microwave until the almond butter is softened, about 30 seconds (depending on your microwave). Stir until smooth. Add the vanilla and stir again until smooth.
  4. Pour the almond mixture into the large bowl and mix with the large spoon until well combined.
  5. Dump the mixture into the prepared pan and pat down as hard as you can. You want to make the bars solid (rather than airy). Using the overhanging wax paper, cover the bars completely. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours and up to one week.
  6. Using the knife, cut into 16 pieces.