Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Cranberry-Walnut Power Bars

We're always on the lookout for good portable snacks, especially something that can give us a little afternoon energy. Last month (in Food & Wine, I think), I spotted a recipe for cranberry-walnut power bars from Heidi Swanson. They were, as with a lot of things I've been cooking lately, extraordinarily simple. And they should be just as easy to manipulate next time we make them.

First came the dry ingredients. These included cranberries, toasted walnuts, oat bran, rolled oats, puffed Kashi cereal, and diced crystallized ginger. Next, I boiled brown rice syrup with vanilla. When the syrup was hot enough, I pulled it off the stovetop and poured it over the dry ingredients.

After stirring to incorporate everything, I pressed the mix into a greased 9" x 13" Pyrex pan. (If you try making your own power bars, make sure you press down hard at this step so you'll have firm, chewy bars that will hold together nicely.) They cooled for about 45 minutes. I cut the whole batch into about 16 bars and wrapped each individually in plastic wrap to keep them fresh. We stored the bars in some Tupperware and ate a few as snacks when we weren't sick from the flu.

I'm already planning to make these again, possibly with chocolate chips and soy nuts or dates and figs. I suspect you could make two half-size batches of dry ingredients and have two flavors of granola bars at the same time.

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