I got a request for energy bars made with dark chocolate, so this is for you, Corrine :) And I have to say that these are definitely my favorite energy bars I have made thus far! They hold together really well and taste amazing. The original recipe I came across had some whey protein powder, but I decided to leave it out because, for one thing, we didn't have any, and for what my husband and I use the bars for, we don't really need the additional protein. I usually use these bars as a pre-cardio snack or as a snack right after I go to an intense hour-long spinning class. For a longer endurance workout, or one that involves weight training, the additional protein would be more beneficial. The original recipe also had some pistachios in them, but I left them out and just doubled the walnuts.
Fruit & Dark Chocolate Energy Bars
1 cup pure maple syrup
3/4 cup peanut butter
2 2/3 cups rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
3/4 cup dried blueberries
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Peanut oil for oiling pan
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil 9x13 inch baking pan with peanut oil.
2. Mix together syrup and peanut butter in large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir until evenly combined.
3. Press mixture into pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cut into 20 bars.
(Recipe adapted from "Confections of a Foodie Bride" blog on yummly.com)
What are the nutritional benefits of these energy bars? Peanut butter is an excellent source of protein and potassium, as well as poly- and mono-unsaturated fats. Oats are high in soluble fiber, which helps reduce cholesterol levels. Whole wheat flour is less refined than all purpose flour so provides more fiber and nutrients, particularly B vitamins, vitamin E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, and iron. Wheat germ is high in folic acid, iron and zinc. Sunflower seeds are packed with antioxidants, particularly vitamin E, and minerals, including selenium, magnesium and copper. Blueberries are packed with antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C. Cranberries are an excellent source of vitamin C. Walnuts are very high in omega-3 fatty acids, and are also high in vitamin E and B vitamins.
Nutrition information per bar (if batch is cut into 20 bars): 272 calories, 13g fat, 7g protein, 33g carbohydrate, 18g sugar, 4g fiber