We leave bright and early tomorrow morning for our big road trip to Austin, Texas for SXSW and Flatstock 33, where we will be selling our (Hero Design Studio) handmade goods and wares for 4 days in the convention center. Since I do my very best to maintain my eating lifestyle no matter where I am, I have packed a ton of food for the trip, both for the road trip down and maybe for the first few days we are there, depending how much eating happens in the car, then I plan to hit Whole Foods once we get there to stock up for the trip back. I have some almond milk and honey packed up, since I know those will both come in handy along the way. I also packed a few bottles of my homemade kombucha and to snack on, I have some nut and dried-fruit trail mix, stove-top popped butter-free spicy popcorn, gluten-free vegan jerky from Primal Spirit Foods and I made these delicious road trip energy bars. It is absolutely imperative that I have some type of chocolate available to me when I am on a road trip. For whatever reason, I always crave chocolate on very long drives. Who knows!
These energy bars were super easy to make. To be completely honest, I quickly wrote up a rough idea for a recipe, headed to the kitchen and just winged it, I assumed I would just figure it out as I went along. What I love most about these bars are how easily you could tweak them to make them your own. If you don’t want chocolate, leave out the cocoa and chocolate chips, maybe adding in some raisins or dried cranberries and some cinnamon instead. You can add whatever your favorite nuts or seeds are. The possibilities are really endless. I have made a few notes below with additional suggestions.
These bars are almost a bit sinful, with that addicting combo of peanut butter and chocolate. How can you resist? The car is gonna smell amazing. With just one bite of these chewy snacks, you will fall in love. My hubby, Mark, absolutely LOVES coffee and although I rarely drink a cup anymore, I do love the flavor and the smell of good coffee beans. So, I thought that would be a fun addition to these bars. Feel free to leave it out or substitute caffeine-free coffee if you can’t handle caffeine. I think the smell alone that the espresso powder gave these bars is worth it. I really cannot wait to bust into one of these tomorrow, I am sure I will be indulging in one before we even hit the Pennsylvania border.
Although I will be away from tomorrow until March 21, I have a wonderful group of amazingly talented guest bloggers to hold down the fort while I am away. They have some lovely guest posts and tons of great recipes to share with all of you, so I do hope you check back often to see what they have up their sleeves. I hope you like it and I cannot wait to get home and start cooking again.
[print_this]Chocolate Peanut Butter Road Trip Energy Bars – Gluten-free, Vegan + Refined Sugar-Free
Makes 8 bars (you can also cut them into smaller squares to 16 or more)
- 1 ripe organic banana, mashed (try adding a second or third banana if you wish to make these sugar-free)
- 2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/4 cup gluten-free oat flour (or just process some gluten-free rolled oats into a fine powder)
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips, dairy free (I like Enjoy Life brand mini-chocolate chips)
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup maple syrup (you could also use honey, coconut nectar, brown rice syrup, etc or skip and add extra bananas)
- 1/2 cup organic natural peanut butter, chunky or creamy, (or any other nut or seed butter)
- 2 tablespoons organic baking cocoa
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds, (you could also use flax seeds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, etc)
- 1/4 cup almond slivers (or any other nut of your choice)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 – 2 tablespoons espresso powder (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
* Note – Remember, you can easily make these energy bars your own, by adding, substituting and skipping ingredients as you’d like. To make these sugar-free replace the syrup with stevia or another banana. They could also easily be made nut-free by skipping the almonds and using sunflower seed butter instead of peanut butter. If you don’t like coffee, skip the espresso powder. Have fun with this recipe.
Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease an 8″ x 8″ glass baking pan very well, or line it with foil, leaving some overhang on two of the sides so you can easily pull it out of the pan to make cutting even easier (this is what I did).
In a large mixing bowl, add all of your ingredients. Mix and mash up very well until it is all well combined. Get your hands in there if you really want to.
Press the mixture firmly and evenly into your pan. Place the pan into the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Don’t worry if the bars seem a bit soft, they will firm up as they cool. After it has completely cooled, either lift the entire thing out of the pan and cut into bars or squares, or cut while it is in the pan.
These can be stored individually in the fridge or freezer. Since I made these two days ago, I stored them in the fridge and then wrapped each one individually in a little piece of parchment paper and a sandwich bag for easy eating in the car.