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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Healthy Nutty Protein Bars

Costco should pay me for getting free advertisement for using all the ingredients that I buy from them, and mentioning them in my recipes.
First of all I got the idea of making these nut bars because I had gone to a Physical Therapy CEU course for Dry needling at  a major local Hotel chain. They had kept these nut bars for snack,  these were different than any other nut bars that I ever had and when I went to get seconds, they were all gone. They never served it again :(

I was wondering where were they from.. to my surprise I found them at Costco, but they were $20.00   for a box of 20,  with 5-6 grams of protein in each. I said to myself,  why not make it myself since I had all the nuts that I always buy in bulk from Costco.  This way I would know what is exactly I put in my body too. I must admit almost all the ingredients here are from Costco except unsalted unroasted pistachio, which I had bought from a local Middle eastern store.

Since I did have lot of these nuts at home and my husband and I do eat nut bars for protein everyday,  I decided to make them in bulk, but if you like to cut the recipe in half you can easily do that.

  • 2 cups of un-roasted unsalted Pistachios
  • 2 cups of roasted unsalted Cashews
  • 2 cupos of un-roasted unsalted Almonds
  • 2 cups of walnuts
  • 2 cups of sliced almonds (found in salad topping section at Costco)

  • 2 cups of Diamond Almond flour (this is  rather a new item at Costco, which I love, I put it in my chapatis and also can use it for many desserts: American and Indian)
  • 2 cups of dried cranberries
  • 2 cups of Organic coconut sugar
  • 1 cup of  Organic Blue Agave

  • 1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 2 table spoon of vanilla extract
  • 1 table spoon of Rose water (optional)

  • Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F 
  • In a bowl mix pistachios, cashews, almonds and walnuts.
  • Spread them on a baking sheet and roast it in oven for  10 min
  • In  the mean time, mix slice almonds, almond flour and dried cranberries in a bowl and set aside.

  • When the nuts are done, take them out of oven and let them cool on the baking sheet.
  • Keep the oven on preheated at 350 degrees
  • When nuts are little cool, crush the walnuts in the mix with stone of mortal and pestle. 
  • Pour the nut mix in with almond flour, sliced almonds and cranberries mix.
  • Toss with a spatula and set aside.

  • In a large deep sauce pan, mix salt, cinnamon powder, vanilla extract, rose water, coconut sugar and agave.
  • Place it on medium low heat and bring it to simmer.
  • Stir with wooden spatula in between.
  • While this is cooking you can place a parchment paper on the large 1-2 inch deep baking sheet and set aside.

  • When the sugar is completely melted and liquid is bubbling at the edges, turn the stove off.

  • Pour in the nuts mixture and quickly toss and mix with wooden spatula until everything is well incorporated.
  • Pour the nut mix on the baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Spread it evenly and press it with parchment paper in your hand to make it even thickness on baking sheet. 
  • Place the tray in preheated oven at 350 degrees F

  • Bake for 15 to 20 min until the top is brown. 
  • I baked it for 20 min.
  • Remove out of oven and let it cook a little. 

  • For topping I used 1 cup of additional almond flour to sprinkle on top. 
  • Press the sprinkle almond flour gently on the nut sheet and then let it completely cool for 45-50 min
  • Once cool lift the entire sheet of parchment paper with nut sheet out of pan by the edges of parchment paper. 
  • Use a sharp knife to cut in to desired size nut bars.
  • I initially cut in to 44 pieces they were about 3" long but then I cut  these in to halves thus yielding 88 small bars.
  • Store in an air tight container at room temp for one week or in the fridge for up to a month.

  • Instead of using the Almond flour you can use dark chocolate or caramel drizzle for topping if you desire.
  • For dark chocolate take 8-10 oz of dark chocolate and melt in double boiler and drizzle on the nut sheet once it is cool (after cooling for 45-50 min)
  • Then let it stand until the chocolate drizzle hardens.
  • I just wanted to make pure nut bars so I did not use any chocolate or caramel.
  • You can omit or add any nuts, based on your taste. You can use Pecans instead of Walnuts
  • You can omit cranberries if you don't like them, but I thought they gave these nuts a nice chew to it and I love dried cranberries.
  •  Instead of using coconut sugar you can use brown sugar if coconut sugar not available..
  • Compare these to the $1.00-$3.00 nut bars available in health food stores. 
  •  These are real bargain, you can always buy nuts in bulk at Costco or any other bulk food store to keep the cost down.

Enjoy and Stay Healthy !!

Recipe and Photographs by Surekha.
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