Sometimes I crave something sweet when out and about. Unfortunately there aren’t many good choices on the supermarket aisles – not every energy or granola bar is the same.
I’m always looking for good alternatives, preferably homemade, because the commercial ones are either cloyingly sweet, or taste like sawdust. I love nuts (hey, you are what you eat!), and peanuts are one of my favorites, plus readily available. So how about making my own bars? “I bet I can!” I said to myself. And now we are obsessed with these peanut and fruit bars at home.
Yes, obsessed is a good word. My daughter has taken them to school for the last week and I bet I’ll have to make some more on the weekend. They are perfect for the little one who spends herself during recess and sometimes brings uneaten sandwiches back. Pump them up chock full of good energy and hope the teacher can take it.
There is a reason I chose peanuts: we already eat other nuts with our breakfast, but for a snack bar nothing beats peanuts.
Peanuts are very nutrient-dense, they provide more than 30 of the essential nutrients our body needs. In fact nearly each of the nutrients we need are present in peanuts in greater or lesser quantities. Niacin, magnesium, phosphorus, fibers, folate, vitamin E and a whopping 25% protein content. No saturated fats and it tastes good? It’s like the perfect food.
Oh, and by the way, peanut is not a nut, it’s a legume.
But enough about peanuts, let’s talk about these marvels of portable snacking.
At room temperature they are chewy, rich. The small amount of salt added to them lifts the sweetness in the fruit and honey, so it actually feels sweeter than it is. Chilled they are harder, perfect for those of us who like to exercise our chompers while we still have them.
After I wrapped them I sealed them with pretty washi tapes and stuck little notes to them. Today I found a sticky note on my computer. It read: “mommy’s peanut bars are the best”. You see, that’s the kind of endorsement companies pay Betty White good money for.
- 6 cups of unsalted roasted peanuts
- ½ lb of dehydrated fruit of your choice
- 8 tablespoons of honey at room temperature
- ½ teaspoon of table salt
- 1 teaspoon of coarse sea salt
- 1 tablespoon of chili flakes
- In the food processor pulse the peanut until the beans are broken into a third of their size.
- Pulse fruit separately until they are broken into bean-sized pieces.
- Mix peanut, fruit, table salt and honey. Mix well until everything is coated in honey.
- Spread over a lipped baking tray lined with a silpat, if you don't have one, oil the tray.
- Heat oven to 300 ºF (150 ºC).
- Bake for 35 minutes.
- Remove tray from the oven and cool to room temperature.
- Oil your hands and press down to compact it.
- Chill in the fridge for an hour.
- Cut into bars. Wrap the bars in waxed paper.
- You can store them in the fridge up to a week.
- They can be eaten as is or make them into spicy or salty bars.
- Sprinkle the bars with chili flakes prior to wrapping.
- Sprinkle the bars with coarse salt prior to wrapping.