Friday, January 18, 2008

Ann's "Birdseed" Bars - Healthy... and good!

These make fruit/nut bars that dry hard in the fridge, but quickly soften up at room temperature. They are SO totally healthy too! I made them up after deciding the ones in the store were too expensive. These are cheap if you get most of the ingredients in the bulk bins at a the local health store.

You can substitute all sorts of things here...bottom line, try to end up with about 6 cups of mixed nuts, seeds, and /or coconut - try cashews, hazelnuts, etc. - and about 1 1/2 c dried fruits - like cranberry, raisins, pineapple, dates, etc.. your choice. Likewise when I don't have the syrup ingredients on hand I use anything sticky I have - honey, brown sugar, peanut butter... you want to end up with sticky sweet edible glue basically!!!

1 1/2 cups sesame seeds
1 c flax seeds
3/4 c sunflower seeds, hulled, no salt
1 c steel cut oats
1 c almonds crushed into small bits
3/4 c shredded coconut
1 - 1 1/2 c chopped dried fruit and/or dates of your choice

1/2 c honey
1/4 c brown sugar
1 T blackstrap molasses
1/2 T lemon juice
1/2 T vanilla extract
1 T butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix all seeds, oats, almonds, and coconut in half sheet cake pan that you sprayed with nonstick spray.

Toast seed mix in oven in this pan for 10 minutes, stirring once, then for another 5 minutes.

Dump mixture into a huge mixing bowl. Add dried fruit and mix well.

Heat honey, brown sugar, molasses, lemon juice, vanilla, and butter in a saucepan till all sugar is melted. Pour over seed and fruit mixture and mix well. Press back into 9x13" pan that you’ve coated well with non stick spray. Squash mixture down as hard as you can.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Let cool and cut into squares. I like to cool it in the pan in the fridge then use a large plastic putty knife to cut into squares. Great snack, nice to wrap each bar individually to keep fresh.

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