Travel Snack Bars (Gluten-free)
With summer holidays in high gear, it’s always good to have healthful travel snacks to bring along. These crispy cereal bars are packed with almonds, dried apricots and dates or figs, plus cacao nibs for a surprise chocolate hit (as in My Favorite Chocolate Shortbread cookie).
You might say why bake when you could buy energy bars, but it’s nice to customize to your taste, plus have a pan-full to share. I usually make a batch before a trip and am so glad to have these for munchies. I individually wrap the bars in plastic or wax paper, then pack in zip-top bags. If you’re not traveling with a cooler, skip the almond butter frosting which won’t like any heat.
These bars recently traveled with me to Ghana when I visited (Ariel) and she didn’t mind having a taste of home when I arrived! Where will you be traveling this summer?
Travel Snack Bars
- 3/4 cup raw whole almonds
- 3/4 cup puffed rice cereal*
- 1/2 cup quinoa flakes* or quick oats
- 1/2 cup chopped dried dates or dried figs
- 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots golden raisins, or cherries
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs optional
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tablespoon sugar
Almond Butter ‘Frosting’ (optional)
- 1/4 cup salted or unsalted almond butter
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil melted
- Mini chocolate chips
- Sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 325F°. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with foil with overhang on two ends; coat generously with cooking spray.
- Spread almonds and cereals on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant.
- Mix dates, apricots and cacao nibs in a large bowl. Put honey and sugar in a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup. About a minute before the cereal is done toasting, heat honey and sugar in microwave for 30 seconds until bubbly, stir and heat again just until sugar melts, about 15 seconds. Watch carefully that honey doesn’t boil over.
- Pour hot toasted almonds and cereal over the dried fruit. Immediately drizzle the hot honey mixture over and mix with a wooden spoon or silicon spatula until ingredients are evenly coated. Mixture will look dry. Turn into prepared pan and pat down very firmly and evenly.
- Bake 20 minutes until top is light golden brown. Remove from oven and press top with a silicon spatula or spoon to flatten and firm before cooling. Flattening and cooling is important so the bars hold together when cut. Lift cooled bars out of pan with foil.
To frost, stir together almond butter and coconut oil. Spread over top before cutting. Top with mini chocolate chips and sliced almonds if desired. Refrigerate until frosting is firm, 1-2 hours. Cut into bars with a sharp knife.
- Note: Frosted bars must be stored in the refrigerator for frosting to stay firm. Unfrosted bars can be stored airtight at room temperature.