Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Nature's Perfect Power Bar - cashews, chocolate and apricots

I am what you might call a mildly enthusiastic runner and biker. A few years ago, I would have classified myself as very enthusiastic, and I was about as regimented as it gets. Part of my regimen naturally involved "power" food.

I was into it all - the gels, the bars, the energy drink. I timed workouts meticulously such that I consumed just the right number of calories at just the right intervals in just the right proportions.

You're probably thinking that this doesn't sound very consistent with my philosophies on eating local, natural food. Well, it isn't. And as the years have passed and I've become more interested in really understanding what I'm eating, I don't feel comfortable buying or consuming these little processed energy units.

So what's the alternative? Make my own of course!

My requirements - a combination of quick and slow burning carbohydrates, some salt, a little protein and fat all wrapped up in a neat package. I could carry a banana, a piece of whole wheat bread, some nuts and a few chocolate chips in the pocket of my cycling jersey, but that isn't quite the level of portability I'm hoping for.

Geez, I always do these long, long intros and then finally get around to the point. Basically, my husband and I have been trying to find the perfect natural power bar recipe.

I like the way oatmeal cookies go down - they seem to stay with you, without giving a sugar rush, and they carry other ingredients without breaking down. So this is where we started.

After experimenting with a few different recipes and even more variations, we've finally come pretty close.

As a coincidence, I just came across the following event on the Tasty Treats Blog:

Thanks for giving me the inspiration to write it down, Poornima!

So while we haven't finished our quest, and I will have to confess that none of these "power cookies" have actually made it onto a ride or a run, they have become a weekly feature in our house.

Here they are, modified from a recipe in King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking. A little sweet, a little salty, filling but not greasy or heavy, chewy but sturdy enough to hold together in a pocket (as previously mentioned, though, this theory is untested). Delicious AND healthy!!!
One final note/confession... my husband is actually the baker on these great cookies. I'm the happy consultant and consumer.

Nature's Perfect Power Cookie (modified from Nutty for Oats Cookies) makes 24 cookies

  • 1/3 c. smooth peanut butter, room temperature
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/8 c. (2 3/4 oz) dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1/2 c. (1 3/4 oz) rolled oats, ground for 30 seconds in a food processor
  • 3/4 c. (2 5/8 oz) rolled oats
  • 3/4 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c. roasted, salted cashews
  • 10 dried apricots
Preheat the oven to 3750F. Grease 2 baking sheets or line with parchment paper.

Soak the apricots in hot water for a few minutes, then drain and slice thinly.

Cream the peanut butter, butter and sugar in a medium bowl until lightened in color. Mix in the vanilla and egg. In a separate bowl, mix both types of oats and the baking soda, then mix this into the wet ingredients. Add the chocolate chips, cashews and apricots. Drop the dough by tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheets.

Bake until the cookies are just set and beginning to brown around the edges, about 13-15 minutes. Let the cookies cool completely on the pan.

Variations: Any combination of additions can be used as long as it adds up to about 1 and a half cups. We've used raisins, dried cranberries, coconut, and walnuts. They're all good, but the apricot, chocolate, cashew combination is definitely the best.

3 Responses:

jennysue said...

yum. i'll try these. (C, i had no idea you were a baker!?) xoxo

boulderhomecook said...

I hope you do, Jennysue. I think you'd like them! Thanks for reading.

Anonymous said...

How long will these last?