Make Your Own Peanut Butter Flax Seed Bars
Oh, the sadness of biting into a mass-produced protein bar in the middle of the woods! You’ll never have to struggle with that cognitive dissonance again with these super simple bars. They’re chewy and toasty and not too sweet. Plus, they can take a beating in your backpack. You can really customize these to suit your tastes, using a different nut butter or adding up to a cup of your favorite dried fruit or nuts.
½ cup smooth peanut butter
¼ cup agave nectar
¼ cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups whole rolled oats (not quick-cooking or instant)
3 Tbsp. golden flax seeds, lightly chopped
½ cup chopped peanuts
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8" x 8" baking pan with a 10" square of parchment paper.
In a small saucepan, mix together the peanut butter, maple syrup, and brown rice syrup. Gently heat the mixture over low heat, whisking with a fork, just until it’s warm enough for the ingredients to incorporate and become smooth.
Remove from heat. Let the mixture cool a bit so that it’s still warm, but not hot. Mix in the vanilla, then add the oats, flax, peanuts, salt, and cinnamon, and mix very well.
Wet your hands to firmly press the oats into the pan. (If your hands aren’t wet, things will get kinda sticky!) Bake for 18 minutes, until the sides are lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the oats from the pan by lifting up the corners of the parchment paper. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely (with the parchment underneath). Slice the block into eight bars, pressing down firmly in one motion to slice.
Store bars in a tightly sealed container at room temperature—or nature temperature, if you’re taking them on the trail. Each bar has 10 grams of protein, to get you through the last leg of that intermediate hike.
Nickel and Dined: By Isa Chandra Moskowitz
Photographed by Vera and Federico Ruiz
This article originally appeared in the print version of our June/July 2015 issue. Subscribe here.