Sweet, delicate, exquisite as the snowflakes of (Bolshoi) Nutcracker! Use as breakfast bar, your travel bar or simply a snack bar.
The recipe is adapted from Pamela Ellegan’s book on dehydrating. Lest a dehydrator is not in your toolbox, I use the oven here by conflating with the technique from Norwegian knekkebrød.
[Do scroll down to check out all the awesome varieties of bar formulae that I have added.]
Food processor; silicone silpat; oven.
- Nuts soaked overnight for 6 hrs: 1/2 cup pecans + 1/2 cup hazelnuts with 1/2 tsp Himalayan sea salt in plenty of water
- Seeds: 1/2 cup whole pepitas or sunflower seeds + 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
- Sweetening tignum : 1/2 cup pitted dates soaked in water for 30 mins
Drain all the soaking ingredients. (Note the flaxseed is not whole.) Save the draining liquid of the dates. Run all the ingredients in a processor, adding the date liquid gradually, till it holds together lightly. Then spread it thin on the silicon mat with the spatula of the processor to a rectangle approximately 8 inches X 10 inches. Score lines on it. Place on a wire rack and bake at 175 F for 1 1/4 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool on the rack. Makes 32 bars.
Notes, hints, tips:
- I place a lid (parchment paper) just on the surface of the water to ensure that all of the nuts are constantly submerged. I attribute this ingenious technique to the Japanese, although you may be more familiar with it as cartouche (a French term that is more popular, thanks to the world history of the last few centuries).
- Let the bars dry thoroughly, although quite tempting to have them right away: it may be a little sticky to the teeth. When completely dry, they don’t stick.
I am in the hunt for an even better binder than dates, albeit with equally good-health endorsements and ready-to-consume sans cooking characteristic.
- Feel free to bake longer, for a crispier effect.
- I soaked the nuts in the morning; baked in the evening and let it cool overnight.
Garbanzo Bar: Here is a bar that uses legume (garbanzo) instead of the nuts.
1 cup cooked garbanzo (not mushed) + 1/2 cup sunflower seeds + 1/2 cup psyllium meal + 1/2 cup dates soaked in water for 30 minutes + a dash of vanilla
Process as the recipe above adding the liquid of the soaking dates till it holds together. Spread thin in a silicon mat and place on a wire rack. Bake at 175 F for 2 hrs. Check after the first hour and then every 30 mins. Let cool overnight.
Beet Bar: Here is a bar that uses beet pulp from the juicer and beet juice. Absolutely addictive, I promise!
I am told that soaking the raw (not toasted) nuts and seeds with a little salt activates them, making them easier to digest and absorb. In general use 1/2 tsp Himalayan salt for 1 cup nuts/seeds.
The texture is a little “bready”: so you can also halve the recipe and spread even thinner on the silicone mat to the same area and bake for the same amount of time (3 hrs) at 170 F. See picture at bottom.
1. Seeds/Nuts (soak in 1 tsp Himalayan sea salt and plenty of water for 12 hours to activate): 3/4 cup sunflower seeds [or pecans or almonds] + 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds + 1/8 cup chia seeds + 1/8 cup poppy seeds + 1/6 cup flax seeds [or blend of seeds & ancient grains (see picture)].
2. Drain the soaking seeds. Process with the following ingredients till well blended and pliable.
— 1 cups rolled oats + 1/2 cup beet juice pulp +
— 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice [or lemon flavored balsamic] + 1/4 cup EVOO + 1 tbsp psyllium husks + 1 tbsp fresh beet juice + 1 tsp Himalayan salt
3. Spread thin on a silicon mat (approximately 18 inches X 12 inches) and bake directly on a wire rack at 170 F for 3 hrs, checking after each hour.
Thinner version (1/2 the Beet Bar recipe):
Cacao-Orange Bar: A fragrant bar that will blow your mind- using the classic combination of chocolate and orange.
1 cup pecans (soaked with 1/2 Himalayan salt for 8 hrs) + 1/2 cup flaxmeal + 2 tbsp psyllium + 1/8 cup cacao powder + zest of 1 orange + 1/2 tsp vanilla essence (to kill the earthy flaxseed flavor) + dash salt + 1/2 cup dates (soaked in orange juice for 30 mins)
Process as the recipe above adding the orange juice of the soaking dates till it holds together. Spread thin in a silicon mat and place on a wire rack. Bake at 175 F for 2 hrs. Check after the first hour and then every 30 mins. Let cool overnight.
Plantain Wafers: Plantain is one of my absolute favorites! Inspired by my Mom’s kadali kofta and Pamela’s Peurto Rican Mofongo, this wafer is bound to steal your heart! The fennel gives a nice anise-accent.
1. Steam three green plantains (not sweet ones) with skin for about 10-12 minutes. Peel while still warm.
2. Run in a processor the steamed plantains with 1 cup chopped fennel +3 tbsp flaxseed meal + 1 tbsp oil (coconut oil) + 2 pods of garlic + salt and pepper to taste. Process till it holds together when pressed into a ball.
3. Make little balls and dot a teflon or silicon base. Flatten and roll thin. [Easy to place another teflon sheet on it and use a wine bottle, if you can’t access a rolling pin.]
3. Bake at 175F for 2-3 hrs until fully dehydrated.
4. Pamela’s Sweet-Sour-Hot Sauce: I am not a big fan of raw garlic, but I will make an exception for this one: the garlic mellows in the powerful agave and cider medium. Mix 1/4 cup agave + 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar + 1 tbsp (or to taste) cayenne pepper + 1-2 pods of finely crushed garlic + salt to taste.
Chipotle Corn Wafers: Influenced by Rachel Carr’s book Modern Raw. The wafer is fantastic!
1. Run in a processor into a soft paste: 2 cups corn kernel + 3/4 cup flaxseeds pulsed into meal + salt + 1/2 tsp cumin seeds +1 tsp chipotle powder + salt to taste + juice of 1/2 lime.
2. Spread thin on two teflon sheets.
3. At 175 F for 2-3 hrs until dehydrated. No need to even flip.
4. Break off the wafers into artisan pieces and serve.
Granola: Influenced by Sara Dickerman’s Dried and True. I replace egg whites with homemade whey. The latter is an even better binder.
1. 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not quick-cooking) + 1/4 cup toasted coconut slivers (called chips) + 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds + + 1/4 tsp cinnamon powder + 1/4 tsp cardamom powder + dash sea salt
2. Tignum fudge: 1/8 cup coconut oil + 1/2 tbsp butter + 1/8 cup condensed milk + 1 oz whey + 1 tbsp brown sugar
3. 1 oz cold whey, beaten well with wire whisk (or 1 egg white)
4. Mix the tignum fudge ingredients on low heat in a small pan for a few minutes until well-mixed and pour over the rest of the ingredients. Fold in the beaten whey. Spread on silpat on a wire rack.
5. At 175 F for 4 hrs until dehydrated. No need to even flip.