When someone uses the term “binding agent” in a recipe that they recite off the top of their head and it’s broken down into a ratio of ingredients (by carbs, fibre and some other healthy categories that might include kale for all I know) you start to question your own mental catalogue of recipes.
For one thing, the only recipe I know off the top of my head is for whipped cream and I might possibly be able to pull off a meringue. It dawns on me that I could never survive in the wilderness without an electric mixer and vanilla extract.
But my brother Dave could. Because through countless trial and error experiments, he has perfected the ultimate portable energy bar. Not only does it contain delicious nuts and dried fruit, it is chewy without falling apart, and moist without being excessively sticky. A major concern when mittens or formal wear is involved.
Dave and my nephew were up from Omaha for the weekend and we made a half batch after raiding my mom’s shelves. The actual recipe/ algorithm is at the bottom of the post.
First you roughly chops the nuts you’re using (we used brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts). Then add the seeds (pumpkin and sunflower).
Add rolled oats and some wheat germ or ground flax. (We did not do this but we did have a healthy debate over the need to grind flax and the actual health benefits of wheat germ and how many tbsps is 3/8ths of a cup anyway?)
While you toast the dry ingredients, you can cut up your dried fruit….
And make your binding agent. In this case, honey, brown sugar and butter. You need fat to keep the bars soft when baked.
Once you’ve melted everything into a liquid you can add other seasoning. We added some cocoa and chili powder. Then you mix in the dried fruit.
And then you mix in the dry mixture. And try not to eat it right away.
And now to flatten it out, and bake for about 25 minutes. Let cool.
And finally you can either eat this as one giant energy bar, (though it is harder to find a decent sized Ziploc for that size of a snack) or cut it up into pocket-size portions. (Not suitable for bathing suit pockets-best to bury this in the sand while you swim and dig it up after.)
RECIPE HERE. It’s is a good one.