Chewy Snack Bars

The muesli bars, energy bars or snack bars you can buy at the groceries are often either too dense or too sweet or even a little bland to my taste. But I do like a sweet snack every now and then, and these chewy four cereal bars fit the bill quite perfectly! As a bonus they’re quick to prepare on the stove top, and the ingredients can be adjusted to what happens to be on hand.

snack_bar3

Instead of just rolled oats I use a four grain mix that includes rolled oats, rye, barley and wheat. The grains have been precooked and then flattened to make them quick to prepare, just like oats often are. This specific four grain mix can be bought in any little grocery in Finland, and we usually cook it into porridge which takes 3 to 10 minutes – we use organic cereals that are ready in 5 minutes. Of course there’s a whole world of cereals, nuts, dried fruit, and seeds you could toss in these bars!

I’ve made three variations so far and they’re all pretty great – the one with peanut butter and sunflower seeds is a basic cupboard-staple option with a sweet caramel undertone, cocoa with cherries is always a lovely combo and satisfies my sweet-tooth quite perfectly, and the mandarin-pistachio-cranberry-goji is the most colorful and sparkles with fruity flavor. I would make each one of these again, but to be honest I guess it is much more likely I’ll experiment with new combinations and ingredients for each batch I make!

Basic Peanut Sunflower Snack Bars:

  • 1 and 1/2 dl four grain cereal (or rolled oats)
  • 1/2 dl gram (besan, chick pea) flour
  • 1/2 dl sunflower seeds
  • 1 dl whole cane sugar
  • 1/2 dl apple juice
  • 3 tablespoons smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

peanut_snack_bars

Cocoa Cherry Quinoa Snack Bars (pictured below):

  • 1 dl four grain cereal (or rolled oats)
  • 1/2 dl gram (besan, chick pea) flour
  • 1 dl puffed quinoa
  • 1/2 dl dried cherries, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 dl whole cane sugar
  • 1/2 dl unsweetened apple sauce
  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Zesty Berry Pistachio Snack Bars (pictured above):

  • 1 dl four grain cereal (or rolled oats)
  • 3/4 dl gram (besan, chick pea) flour
  • 1 dl puffed quinoa
  • 1/2 dl dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/2 dl dried goji berries, chopped
  • 1 dl whole cane sugar
  • 1/2 dl unsweetened mango sauce
  • 1 dl (unsalted, shelled) pistachios, chopped
  • grated zest of 1 organic mandarin
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

I toasted the cereal and gram flour (and sunflower seeds for the peanut version, or walnuts for the pistachio one) on a dry frying pan until fragrant and just lightly browned, for about 10 minutes.

While I was toasting the cereal, I placed the sugar and the apple juice (or the apple sauce for the cocoa version, or mango sauce for the pistachio one) in a small cooking pan and cooked over medium heat for about 6 minutes until thick and bubbly. Then I added the nut butter (if used), salt, vanilla, and cinnamon or cocoa powder (if used) in the pan and mixed thoroughly.

Now I poured everything in a mixing bowl and stirred with a fork until there were no dry lumps visible. I placed the dough between two pieces of baking parchment and pressed it with my fingers (I needed to use oven mittens, it was so hot) to a square about 3/4 cm thick. Then I let it set in room temperature, which took about an hour or so, before cutting into bars – this batch makes about 9 to 12 depending on how large you like them. If the bars seem too sticky, I let them dry on the counter for about an hour on each side and they’re easier to handle.

I store these in zip-lock bags, separated by layers of parchment paper to avoid sticking, and in room temperature – these keep pretty well, and this batch isn’t huge either. In warmer climates it might be a good option to store these in the fridge, tightly sealed to avoid moisture creeping in.

choco_snack_bars

16 Comments

  1. Posted September 10, 2009 at 00:14 | Permalink

    Yummy !Näitä pitää kokeilla!

  2. Posted September 10, 2009 at 13:12 | Permalink

    These are beautiful! They sound like a great travel food! I think the last version is really calling my name.

  3. Morgan
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 16:07 | Permalink

    These look great and I can’t wait to try them out – just a question though!!

    What do you mean by “puffed” quinoa? Do you mean to cook it first?

  4. Posted September 10, 2009 at 20:07 | Permalink

    We had something like this during a 4-day trekk in Norway and they were awesome!

  5. Posted September 10, 2009 at 20:41 | Permalink

    That’s perfect to regain strength!

  6. Posted September 11, 2009 at 01:23 | Permalink

    I feel the same way about store bought bars. Very bland or overly sweet. I’m excited to try your recipes for these bars.

  7. Anni
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 08:37 | Permalink

    Thanks for the comments!

    Morgan – puffed quinoa is like puffed rice but made with quinoa, here in Finland it’s available in health food stores and organic shops. Shouldn’t be too hard to find, and you could even use any puffed cereal instead.

  8. Posted September 12, 2009 at 02:03 | Permalink

    These look terrific! Just the sort of thing I like to make for afternoon office snacks.

  9. Posted September 13, 2009 at 05:56 | Permalink

    These are the most beautiful cereal bars I have ever seen!

  10. Posted September 14, 2009 at 09:27 | Permalink

    they are beautiful! like bars of precious jewels!

  11. Posted September 14, 2009 at 19:13 | Permalink

    The bars all look perfect! These would be great to pack for school lunches and on hikes.

  12. Posted September 15, 2009 at 23:20 | Permalink

    Those are gorgeous!

  13. Posted September 26, 2009 at 21:55 | Permalink

    Wow, these bars look so perfect. I’ve never had much luck with granola-type bars, but I’m willing to give these a chance.

  14. Posted October 22, 2009 at 02:45 | Permalink

    awesome ,extremely crunchy!

  15. Tiffany M.
    Posted October 28, 2009 at 05:10 | Permalink

    I just discovered your site earlier this week. Wow! what a treat. We loved the basil sweet potato recipe we tried. Tonight, I’m making some of these yummy-looking bars. Thanks for sharing your kitchen!

  16. Posted February 19, 2011 at 20:02 | Permalink

    These are gorgeous! I always find supermarket bars too sweet and full of too many unappealing ingredients. However, they’re so convenient for quick breakfasts! These are a perfect middle ground and look delightfully simple to make!

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