This weekend was supposed to be filled with all sorts of fun projects: a new loaf of bread, a wonderful meal, the start of a new gardening season, and perhaps a bit of relaxation on the side. But these idyllic pictures of what I might do with my “spare time” must have deluded me into thinking that Spring Break would bring anything but trouble.
Yesterday, we took the car out to pick up supplies for our garden, and do a bit of grocery shopping in preparation for all the gorgeous dishes I had planned. We had a trunk full of all sorts of good stuff — organic soil, seeds, fruit, vegetables, milk, and the like — and were on our way back from a neighboring town, making our way on the rain-streaked monstrosity otherwise known as I-95. Things were clearly going a bit too smoothly. We had barely stood in a line, despite making our way through four different shops, and eerily enough, traffic had slowed to a decent pace for the weather. People were being polite for once. This never happens, unless 1) someone’s already been pulled over or 2) you’re starring in an episode of The Twilight Zone.
I think option 2 was more appropriate, given what happened next. My car (a classy Ford Escort) decided it was high time I recognized it was nearing 100,000 miles and started acting like it had been possessed by some sort of alien force. And so, one tow truck ride from the Better World Club later, with mechanic visits and potentially large bills looming, I decided to cut down my long list of complicated recipes and just make something that might get me through the next week in one piece.
Energy bars have been on my list of things to try making from scratch for a while, since James and I are both total bitches when we get hungry and nevertheless tend to pack too lightly for some of our biking / hiking treks. These bars pretty much meet all my criteria for yummy energy food: they’re compact, delicious, and not greasy at all. If you’re looking for something to take on a hike, or just want to get through a long day at work, these little bars will quickly become a weekly habit.
Figgy chocolate energy bars
Makes ~16 bars.
This recipe is a modification of one I came across on a biking forum ages ago. I don’t remember the source, unfortunately, but I’ve modified it quite a bit, so it’s slowly becoming my own creation. Feel free to play with the flavors; sub in whatever dried fruit you have in the house, and play with different spices. You can even use granola in place of the nuts and dried fruit, if you have some already made. I was going for a bastardized mole (chocolate-pepita-cinnamon, minus the chili pepper this time) flavor here, which plays nicely with the dried figs, but anything goes, really.
- 3/4 c. (~3 oz.) each whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, and oat flour.
- 1/2 c. (2 oz.) brown sugar, firmly packed. I store mine in the freezer to avoid having to gouge at it with an ice pick.
- 1/4 c. whole flax seeds.
- 2 T. organic, fair trade cocoa powder.
- 1 t. cinnamon.
- 1/2 t. baking powder.
- 1/2 t. salt.
- 2 medium eggs.
- 1/3 c. canola oil. I’ve been meaning to replace some of this with applesauce, but I’m not sure what it’d do to the flavor.
- 1/8 c. blackstrap molasses.
- 1/8 c. agave nectar.
- 1 T. orange zest.
- 1 T. vanilla.
- Juice of 1 large orange.
- 1/2 c. water.
- 1-1/4 c. dried organic figs, finely chopped.
- 1/4 c. organic raisins.
- 1/2 c. organic raw pumpkin seeds.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″x13″ baking tin and set aside.
Mix all dry ingredients together (except figs and pumpkin seeds) in a large bowl until the mixture is lump free and evenly combined. In another bowl, mix all the wet ingredients together until well combined. Add the wet mix to the dry mix, and stir until the resulting mixture is smooth and free of any pockets of flour. Add the dried figs and pumpkin seeds, and stir until evenly distributed.
Pour the batter into the baking tin and smooth out, so the batter is level in the tin. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let them cool for a few minutes, and then cut the bars into rectangles, remove from the baking tin with a spatula, and let cool completely on a wire rack. Store in an air tight container until they no longer taste good (I’m guessing they’ll last about a week at cool room temperature).