I’ve been obsessing over coming up with new recipes for vegan cereal bars. I usually mix things up, but rarely make something that tastes completely different from my previous bars (unless I’m using some intense flavors like matcha, chocolate, or lucuma). The following recipe suddenly came up in a dream; I was eating this purple colored bar and I was truly enjoying it. So, as soon as I got up, the image of having seen Acai powder at the organic store pushed me to make these babies. It was also a great opportunity to put my dehydrator to use. (Note: if you don’t have a food dehydrator to dry your fruit or make fruit leather, you can find the already made alternatives at your local grocery store). These bars taste very different than anything I’ve made before. That’s why they’re special…
Ingredients (for 16 bars depending on size)
- 1 ½ cup rolled oats (I use gluten free).
- 1 cup of non-roasted, unsalted peanut butter (I make my own and encourage you to do the same)
- 1 cup of blueberries, made into leather.
- ½ cup of almonds, skinned and chopped.
- ½ cup pumpkin seeds.
- ½ cup goji berries
- ½ cup raspberries, dried and chopped.
- ½ cup coconut flakes.
- ½ cup agave syrup, plus 1 tablespoon.
- ½ cup cherries, pitted.
- ½ cup white sesame seeds.
- ½ lemon, just the juice.
- ¼ cup flax seed, milled.
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds.
- 1/8 white chia seeds.
- 3 tablespoons of acai berry powder.
- 1 tablespoon of hibiscus, grinded.
- Salt and vegetable oil, to taste.
- Materials: 20x30cm (8×12 inch) pan or baking dish, aluminum foil and/or parchment paper, a high speed blender or food processor, and a food dehydrator (optional).
- Peanut Butter: In a food processor, process your peanuts to make some butter. You can add some salt and a bit of vegetable oil (the latter might be needed because peanuts that haven’t been roasted tend to be drier in my experience). Once creamy, add the hibiscus and acai. Mix in well until you get a dark purple peanut butter.
- Dehydrated ingredients (follow these steps only if you are making it from scratch): (a) Fruit leather. In a blender, blend your blueberries with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of agave syrup. Line your fruit leather tray from your dehydrator with a piece of parchment paper and spread the blueberry paste evenly; (b) place your chopped raspberries (in quarters) over a fine mesh tray for your dehydrator. Let both (a) and (b) dehydrate at 65-70 degrees Celsius for 6-8 hours (duration might vary depending on your dehydrator). Once ready, break down the dry raspberries into smaller crumbles and cut the blueberry leather into strips.
- Agave: in a blender cup, blend the ½ cup of agave syrup with the cherries.
- Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together (except the blueberry leather).
- Wet ingredients: Add the cherry agave to the dry ingredients. Mix everything well, making sure that the agave has spread everywhere. Then, add the acai-hibiscus peanut butter. Once again, make sure that the butter has mixed well with all the ingredients (beware of butter lumps… these will make your bars fall apart once you cut them).
- Line a pan or baking dish. I like using foil to wrap around the edges and then use as handles when removing it from the pan for cutting. Put the mix on the pan, evenly distributing it (press it down with your wet hands). 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). Remove the parchment paper and now lay some blueberry leather strips on top (following a particular pattern, or just break it into pieces and spread them around. Cover again with the parchment paper and press down.
- 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 (plastic film might be better given that the leather strips will, most likely, stick to the foil).
- Store them in the fridge or freezer for up to 3 weeks.