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Travel Snack Bars (Gluten-free)

Energy Bars

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? Print This Recipe

Travel Snack Bars

Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 20 minutes plus 1 hour cooling
Makes 12 bars or 24 squares

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 8×8-inch baking pan with foil with overhang on two ends; coat generously with cooking spray.

  1. Spread almonds and cereals on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly toasted and fragrant.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Kitchen Notes:

Puffed Rice Cereal can be Rice Krispies, or Rice Puffs such as Nature’s Path brand. Just be sure they are unsweetened.
Quinoa Flakes are a little lighter in texture than quick oats which also work fine. I get Ancient Harvest Quinoa Flakes at Whole Foods.
Cacao Nibs can be found at Whole Foods. I usually buy the Divine Organics brand.

Energy Bars

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  1. Posted June 25, 2016 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Yummy looking, Rosemary. Two questions: Why did you use coconut oil in the frosting? And… are these bars crunchy? If so, does using plastic wrap make them less crunchy vs wax paper after a week or so?

    • Rosie's Kitchen
      Posted June 27, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      Coconut oil is solid at room temperature so it firms up the almond butter. (bar on the left in the photo is frosted). I don’t travel with frosted bars because any heat will melt the frosting.
      The bars are crispy-nutty crunchy. I was attempting a texture something like a Larabar which is made mostly dates. I didn’t want too much fat or sugar which are the ingredients that make crispy bars.
      I’ve not noticed if plastic or wax affects the texture. They keep well for at least 2 weeks if you have them that long!

  2. Ariel
    Posted June 28, 2016 at 4:23 am | Permalink

    These are delicious and really easy to make snacks! They are perfect for when I go on biking trips or spend a day studying at the library. I like the clean and simple ingredients of these bars versus other “granola” bars that are sold in the supermarket that have too many extra processed ingredients.

    • Rosie's Kitchen
      Posted June 28, 2016 at 6:15 am | Permalink

      Glad these are happy snacks for you Ariel!