Commercial energy bars tend to be a colossal suckfest. There’s always some super funky ingredient listed that sounds like it was meant to strip varnish. I have a few store bought granola bars that aren’t too terrible and give me that little bit of energy I need to get me going when I’m out on the trail. The best energy bars I’ve ever had are the ones I’ve made myself. Simple ingredients like nuts, grains and fruit with a little something added to provide me with some protein to sustain my energy and a taste of natural sweetness.
I was really excited to try the Granola Energy Bar recipe in Baking Chez Moi-particulary after the richness of the holiday season. Brown rice syrup was a new ingredient for me and after trying it out I just don’t think it’s for me. The taste was just a little too sweet and it left me with a funny feeling. I decided to try a combination of my favorite energy bar recipe from Ellie Krieger with Dorie’s ingredients.
My first bars I followed the ingredient list exactly. For the second version I skipped the butter, brown rice syrup and vanilla and instead used maple syrup, eggs, cinnamon and cardamom. I meant to add some powdered non-fat milk to my mix but forgot it at the last minute.
The oats and nuts get a light toasting and I kept that in for both bars. The smell of toasting oats is pretty heavenly on a rainy day. Afterwards both batches were mixed with cherries and coconut although I opted for the flaked, unsweetened coconut on the second batch.
The ingredients used to bind our granola is where these two recipes really diverge. One uses a combination of butter and brown rice syrup flavored with vanilla to get the granola to stick. The other uses eggs and maple syrup whirred up after giving the granola a pulse or two on its own.
One creates a gooey mass of whole oats, seeds, nuts and fruit and the other creates more of a paste. Both of them are squished down so that they can later be cut into bars.
The first batch really looked gorgeous. We decided to nibble before taking them with us on a hike. The taste was just too sweet and after about 30 minutes I felt a little off. Really these bars almost reminded me more of a cookie. Definitely not great food to pack for a long hike-at least for me. Scott wasn’t really a fan of these either.
Sadly it was raining here when I made the second batch so I didn’t get to trail test them. We did get to ‘watch terrible movies while in bed’ test them and they were pretty great. Much less sweet but just sweet enough. The cinnamon and cardamom were perfect with the cherries, almonds and pepitas.
Next time I go to make some energy granola bars I think I’ll try another combo of the two. Keep the toasted granola base and use the egg and syrup binder but I’ll probably try and reserve some of the oats an seeds to mix into the paste so I get more of the whole pieces. I’ll also try and remember the powdered milk and maybe even throw in a few mini chocolate chips for a tiny bit of added richness.