Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Granola Bars

This is my adaption of a recipe from the Cookbok "Raw Food, Real World"

(Makes about 10 cups or 20 bars)

1-2 apples
1 ½ cups pitted dates (soak ahead of time if they are dry)
½ cup sweetener (maple syrup, honey, agave nectar, etc.)
2 Tbs. lemon juice (fresh)
2 Tbs. Orange Extract (Or add a few drops of orange oil to make it extra orange-y)
1 Tbs. Vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. sea salt
7 cups mixed raw nuts and seeds soaked overnight and rinsed well (walnuts, almonds, pecans, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc)
1 cup dried cranberries (apple juice sweetened)

1. In food processor, place apples, dates, maple syrup, lemon juice, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and grind until completely smooth. Transfer into another bowl.
2. Put soaked nuts into food processor and coarsely chop. Mix with apple mixture and add dried cranberries.
3. Spread on dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 115 degrees for 6- 8 hours. Flip over and continue drying for 8-12 hours or until crunchy. Cut into bars and store in refrigerator in airtight container. These bars are also good as a breakfast granola. Crumble a couple of bars into a bowl and top with nut milk and fruit.
4. Store in airtight container.

Yummy Variation

Add 1-3 TBS raw, organic cocoa powder for chocolaty granola. Leave in orange and cranberry or take it out, depending on what flavor is desired.

For chocolate coating that is guilt free and delicious, mix raw organic cocoa powder with enough agave nectar to make a thick paste. “Frost” granola bars before dehydrating.

Helpful hints from Janae

1. This is a raw recipe, so to preserve the enzymes and other health properties, it is important to keep the temperature below 115 degrees. The only way to do this is to have a dehydrator with a thermostat on it. However, using the lowest oven setting is a good alternative for those who don’t have a dehydrator. Spread the granola mixture on a cookie sheet, and put in the oven on the lowest temperature possible. Check granola every 15-20 minutes so it doesn’t get too brown. If the lowest temperature is still too hot, try propping the oven door open about one inch and that will lower the temperature a bit. These will finish cooking much faster than the dehydrated versions.
2. The apples are what makes this recipe stick together. Use more or less according to your taste and purpose.
3. To make the nut soaking less tedious, put all the nuts in a big bowl, and soak overnight. Rinse well before using.
4. If the dates need to be soaked, do it in as little water as possible and add the soak water to the recipe.
5. Use any of the following as a sweetener: honey, pure maple syrup, agave nectar, molasses, sucanate, soaked dates.
6. Sometimes this recipe is too heavy. To lighten it up a bit, soak 1-2 cups of raw buckwheat overnight and drain well. Mix in by hand with the cranberries at the end. This adds a crunchy “crispy rice” effect. OR blend the soaked buckwheat in before adding the cranberries, and this will lighten the batter.

** Bulk nuts at the health food store, or nuts sold in 3 lb. bags at Costco are usually the least expensive.

** It is important to soak your nuts before using. Nuts are coated with enzyme inhibitors to keep insects, bacteria and mold away. This makes them very hard for humans to digest. If you soak your nuts over night, and rinse them well before using, the enzyme inhibitors are washed away. In addition, soaking the nuts activates important enzymes that make the nuts much easier to digest and much more nutritious.

** Raw nuts are the best option for good health. When nuts are roasted and salted, the oils become oxidized and no longer provide the health benefits that raw nuts do. It is best to avoid the excessive salt that comes with roasted, salted nuts.

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