Sunday, February 12, 2017

Bird Seed Bars

Apparently good foods are popular! Recently I was at a family gathering, and there was an island filled with mediocre store muffins, dunkin donuts, and an apple pie that was so beautiful no one had the heart to cut into yet. More family arrived and sprouts appeared on that island. Someone joked "Oh who is going to eat sprouts", as about 3 sets hands dove in for some! A few days later I brought these bars over, and didn't think much of it, but later I found out they were discovered and devoured pretty quickly. So, I really love know the kind, loads of beautiful pictures, by authors that bloggers love, with lots of exotic ingredients. A couple of years ago this book came out. I've been in love ever since. Every single recipe is incredible, and I've made most of them. (I highly recommend this small investment.) There are also lots of easy everyday recipes in here. So, I've made these treat bars a couple of times, and they have puffed amaranth and a handful of super good for you seeds. They disappear quickly, and they are great for on the go, to take to work, or to put in for a backpack snack, and for hiking! I actually don't make them for myself much. Bad things happen when I make them for my home, meaning I eat all of them.  Which is bad because sugar (in any form, yes, even brown rice syrup) is not a friend, but sometimes I am terrible student (hello bar of belgian chocolate in my refrigerator!). But these are so great to give away! Or to make for hikes in the summertime. On the go nourishment. 

Equipment: One 8-inch square baking dish, or 5 x 8 dish, which will give you less

Makes eighteen 2 × 1-inch bars
  • olive oil for pan
  • 1¼ cup puffed amaranth (you'll need 1/4 cup dry)
  • 1 cup dried, unsweetened, shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup toasted unhulled black (or white) sesame seeds 
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (or sunflower seeds)
  • ¼ cup hemp seeds
  • ½ cup Brown rice syrup, (or yakon syrup)
  • ½ cup toasted almond butter, store-bought or homemade
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of 1 lemon, more if you like
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (or toasted walnut halves, chopped)
  • ½ cup dried goji berries (or mulberries)
1. Lightly brush pan with olive oil, or if using a metal cake pan, line with oiled parchment paper. 

 2. Pop the amaranth! The trickiest step! Over medium/high hear warm a heavy bottomed pan for approximately 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon amaranth and cover. Count to 5 and start shaking the pan around (just like making popcorn from scratch!) until most of the grains are popped. Quickly transfer to bowl then repeat 1 tablespoon at a time. Once cool, store any extra in an air tight container for up to two weeks (no longer trust me on this one). 
*notes this is pretty tricky, and you may end up with some burnt amaranth. If it's not too terrible you can still use it, but be careful. it takes some practice.

3. Put amaranth, coconut, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and hemp seeds in a medium-size bowl, and toss to combine. Add brown rice syrup and almond butter to a small pot over medium heat; stir well to work out any lumps. Continue stirring until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla and lemon zest. Working quickly, pour into amaranth mixture and stir until evenly combined. Add almonds and goji's, and mix again. Using moist hands, press dough into baking dish until completely even and flat. Place in the fridge to cool for at least 1½ hours or in the freezer for 45 minutes.

4. Cut into 18 bars. Stored in an airtight container in the fridge, bars will keep for up to two weeks, although they are best eaten within a few days.