April 09, 2013

Apple Pie Energy Bars



Today's post may seem a little out of season, but since the weather here in Ontario seems to be rather confused itself, I figured it's acceptable to post an apple recipe in April!

I've made a lot of raw energy bars or bites by blending up nuts and dried fruit in my food processor, always using a different combination of ingredients to change things up.  For these energy bars, I tried out a new method of adding even more flavour: soaking the dried fruit in flavoured tea first!

The flavour I was going for was apple pie, like the Larabar, and to get that flavour I used dried apples, dates and raisins for the dried fruit and soaked them in apple cinnamon tea so that they absorbed more apple-y flavour.  Along with the fruit, I added walnuts, sunflower seeds and oats to make up the bulk of the bars, and cinnamon, ginger and vanilla to round out the apple pie theme.

These bars turned out extra moist from the plump fruit and the sunflower seeds, which break down in the food processor to create a paste, sort of like nut butter. I loved the strong apple flavour, and while they were on the soft side overall, the walnuts and oats helped to add layers of texture.

The recipe is pretty adaptable, so feel free to shape the mixture any way you want!  I made long, thin bars, but you could make thicker squares, or even roll the mixture into energy balls instead.

I can't wait to try out other kinds of teas to make more energy bars and bites!  I'm thinking that an earl grey tea might go well with an almond and vanilla based bar, and a ginger tea with oats and lemon sounds lovely too!  I also used a decaf tea in these bars, but you could get an extra energy boost from your bars if you use a tea with caffeine!



Apple Pie Energy Bars
Loosely adapted from Real Food. Real Deals

1 bag of apple cinnamon tea
1 cup boiled water
1/2 cup diced dried apple (if you can only find sliced dried apple, chop them first and then measure 1/2 cup)
2 tbsp raisins
1/4 cup dates (about 5 dates)
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1/4 cup raw or roasted unsalted sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup or more rolled oats

Soak the teabag in the boiled water for 3-5 minutes. Remove teabag and discard.  Add the dried apple, raisins and dates to the water and let soak for about 5 minutes. Drain well, squeezing out any excess liquid if necessary (I recommend saving the tea to drink, it’s quite delicious and sweet from the dried fruit!).

Place walnuts, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, ginger, and salt in a food processor and process until the mixture forms crumbs. Add the drained apples, raisins and dates, and the vanilla extract. Process again until everything is broken down (it’s okay if it’s a bit chunky). Pulse in the oats. If mixture is still too wet, pulse in another 1-2 tablespoons of oats.

Press mixture into the bottom of a loaf pan lined with parchment paper, pressing down firmly with a rubber spatula and/or your hands (you can make the bars as thick as you want them).  Refrigerate for at least an hour, then cut into bars or squares.

Store in the fridge.

Makes about 5 bars (although it depends how thick you make your bars).


14 comments:

  1. such a great idea to soak the fruit in tea! the apple pie lara bar is one of my very favorite flavors, so i definitely have to try these out! they look delicious.

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    1. Thanks Caitlin! Actually, the apple pie flavor wouldn't be my first choice for a storebought bar, so I'm glad I gave these homemade ones a chance anyway since I ended up liking them so much!

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  2. Love the apple pie flavour and that you steeped it in tea - such a fun idea! I need to start making snacks like this!

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    1. Yes, you should make your own granola bars more often since you eat them a lot, and the ones that you've made have always turned out yummy!

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  3. I've not had an apple pie lara bar before! Sounds amazing! Definitely going to make these soon. Our weather is awfully confused here too! We are expecting a ton of snow this weekend. POUTS!

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    1. Oh no! I really hope we don't see any more snow here, although they are calling for freezing rain tomorrow which is probably worse! A nice mug of apple cinnamon tea and a homemade treat will be needed!

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  4. These look phenom. First time I find an Ontarian blog...woohoo, will make these for sure!!

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    1. Thanks! I'm glad to have fellow Ontarian readers who understand what I'm talking about with the crazy weather!

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  5. I'm trying to get into the habit of making recipes like this more often. My meals are always healthy, but I have a habit of snacking on things that, while not unhealthy, are completely devoid of nutritional content. :/ This would be much more sustaining!

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    1. I know what you mean...I usually keep my daytime snacks healthy and nutritious, but my nighttime tv snacks tend to be the packaged variety (like you, not the really bad for you junk food but still not actually healthy!). But at least you have a balance where your meals are healthy and homemade!

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  6. Can't wait to try these. I am a little worried about store baught dried apples, becuase I am desperately trying to stay away from extra sugar, so I will need to start drying my fruit! Love dipping them in tea idea... and as for the lara bar comments, I have to say you MUST try Coconut Cream Pie & Key Lime Pie... they are my favorites!!! Thanks for posting the recipe! Katina @ www.plantskinny.com

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  7. WOW these look super easy to make and tasty- love the idea of pre soaking the fruit in the tea for added moisture!

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  8. One of my goals this year is supposed to be making more granola bars and energy bars at home. I haven't done many yet but at least I'm looking at recipes like this every now and again. That's giving me the information I need so that I can develop blends that are ideal for me.

    I wonder what other fruits would work as well as apple in terms of the firmness. Just as an alternative.

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    1. I definitely recommend checking out lots of different energy bar recipes and finding a combination that suits you! I haven't tried this exact recipe with other fruits, but I imagine you could substitute the apple for another dried fruit - you would just end up with a different flavour and a bit of a different texture. I would say dried figs or even more dates would be best in terms of flavour profile for this recipe, but you could try the same method with dried apricots, pineapple (not the candied kind) or other soft dried fruits and experiment with different spices and teas!

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