I make a batch of cereal bars every single week (easiest snack to bring to work). I like to alternate between my standard recipe (the Christine Bar, not posted here) and some new inventions. Since I got my dehydrator I wanted to experiment with bars that had some dried fruits in them and I came up with the Andes Bar. This is a very sweet bar, filled with fruit (very little crunch I must say). I named it “Andes” because of its signature flavor: Lucuma. Lucuma is a delicious subtropical fruit that grows along the Andes through Chile, Peru and Ecuador. Other than those countries, it’s really hard to find in its natural form (some places will sell its powdered version). To be loyal to my home country I’ve also added two of our most typical and autochthonous fruits: kiwis and blueberries.
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats (I use gluten free).
- 1 cup of cashew butter (I make my own and, for this recipe, I prefer it over peanut butter because it’s sweeter).
- ½ cup of dried bananas, chopped.
- ½ cup of dried blueberries, halved.
- ½ cup almonds finely sliced.
- ½ cup sunflower seeds.
- ½ cup agave nectar.
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds.
- ¼ cup of dried kiwis, chopped.
- ¼ cup of dried pineapples, chopped.
- ¼ cup flax seed, milled.
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds.
- ¼ cup chia seeds.
- 3 tablespoons of lucuma powder (2 for the cashew butter, 1 for sprinkling).
- 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon.
- Almond milk (½ cup, more or less)
- Materials: 20x30cm (8×12 inch) pan or baking dish, aluminum foil and/or parchment paper.
- Lucuma Cashew Butter: Soften the cashew butter in a hot pan and add the 2 tablespoons of lucuma powder and cinnamon. Once everything is well mixed (so it looks like thick butter), remove from the stove and let cool down. Don’t use it until it has completely cooled down! If it’s too hard or dense I gradually add some almond milk while mixing it with a hand mixer until a more manageable texture is achieved.
- Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (everything!, grains, seeds and dry fruits).
- Wet ingredients: Add the agave to the dry ingredients. Mix everything well, making sure that the agave has spread everywhere. Then, add the lucuma cashew butter only when it’s cold (I’m not sure if this is actually a thing, but I’m worried that if the butter is hot it might alter the texture and/or flavor of the other ingredients). Once again, make sure that the lucuma cashew butter has mixed well with all the ingredients (beware of butter lumps… these will make your bars fall apart when you cut them).
- Line a pan or baking dish. I like using foil to rap around the edges and then use as handles when removing it from the pan for cutting. Put the mix on the pan, distributing it evenly (press it down with your wet hands). Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of lucuma powder on top of the now block of cereal. Then, cover with some parchment paper. (Tip: I like to use a small cutting board – smaller than the pan – to press down the mix even more, and make it a very tight and even cereal brick).
- Put it in the freezer for about an hour. Then remove the cereal brick from the pan, cut into bar-shaped pieces (I usually get 16 bars from my 20x30cm pan), and wrap in foil for individual bars.
- Store them in the fridge or freezer for up to 3 weeks (if you can last that long without eating them).
Try not to leave them out for too long (remember these bars have lots of fruits and milk in them), so they could eventually get ruined if not stored properly. As a last tip, make sure you have a napkin to clean your finger after eating them (they’re very sticky!!!)