sweet and salty seedy nut bars

sometimes inspiration will carry me to the kitchen to bake something, but when i open the cupboards the ingredients are dismal.  i wanted to make granola bars but as i eyed the most discouraging amount of oats i had ever encountered, i thought it might not happen.  just then i spied small amounts of different seeds and nuts all over the cupboard, so instead of sulking away empty-handed, i got a little creative.

i toasted them all up in a dry frying pan, tossed them with some kosher salt, vanilla and agave, then baked them into bars.  and, of course, finished them off with a drizzle of semi-sweet chocolate.  the result is a toasty, crackly, just-sweet-enough bar that flakes and pops as you chew it.  the hint of salt compliments the treat’s sweetness and toasty crunch really well.  it reminded me slightly of the taste of fresh popped popcorn, but tucked into a hardy and healthy snack.

sweet and salty seedy nut bars
2 c variety of whichever seeds, nuts, light grains or dried fruits you have on hand
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 c agave syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

this recipe is really simple and versatile.  you can use pretty much any nuts or seeds you have on hand, light grains like oats, buckwheat or quinoa, and most dried fruit.  i used a mix of flax seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pecans, dried shredded coconut, quinoa, oats and buckwheat.

pan fry all the ingredients in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes tossing every minute or so.   you should hear snap, crackle, popping.  if you have fruit or chocolate chips or something you want to add to the bars that shouldn’t be toasted, then add it in after this step.

once done, pour the toasted ingredients into a large bowl and drizzle the vanilla extract and agave over it – it may sizzle a bit.  mix well and turn out onto a pan covered in parchment paper.  form into a rectangle shape, as thick as you’d like your bars long.

bake at 325F for 10 minutes, take out and let cool for a few minutes.  then cut with a large sharp knife into bars – or little squares if you’d like – and return them to the oven for 10 additional minutes.  take out and let cool for a while before you attempt to handle them.  the agave leaves them malleable while still hot but they eventually harden into a very crunchy bar when completely cooled.

once they are cooled you can drizzle them with chocolate – which is what i prefer.  depending on your taste, you might like it without any chocolate or completely dipped in it.  personally, i think this minimal but even coat is perfect to contrast the saltiness within the bar.

to melt the chocolate, heat it up in a double boiler over low heat on the stove.  i do this by putting the chocolate in a large ceramic bowl over a small pot which is filled with about 1/2 inch of water, so that the bowl isn’t submerged in it.  this way when the water boils under the bowl, only steam will heat it up, not direct boiling water.  this will keep the temperature high enough to melt the chocolate but low enough to assure it won’t burn.

with the bars laid out on parchment paper (you can use the same piece you baked them on), coat a spoon with the melted chocolate and quickly shake from side to side over the bars to drizzle them thoroughly.  repeat until they are coated to your liking.

again, let cool thoroughly – at least an hour – before you attempt to handle.  the chocolate can stay soft for a long time.

enjoy for a snack, on a hike, with friends, in copious amounts!

yields 6 bars


10 Responses to “sweet and salty seedy nut bars”
  1. Rose says:

    These look wonderful…I think salt and chocolate go very well together.

  2. Claire says:

    I love recipes like this, where you can use up all of the bits of things you have on hand. So versatile! It’s been bookmarked for the next time I’m craving something sweet yet healthy.

  3. Those look AMAZING! Seriously, what a great on the go snack. The chocolate on top takes them to a whole different level. YUM!

  4. tofulicious24 says:

    Thanks for the recipe! I made it two nights ago and am sadly munching on the last bits. It didn’t exactly form into bars for me, more like clumps, but I had added some extra ingredients.

    Will definitely make it again!

  5. Jamie says:

    I made these a while ago, and although they were delicious, they certainly were not bars. It was just a big crumble. Any ideas on how to avoid that in the future?

    • jacqueline says:

      hmm, i didn’t have that problem. i bet if you use a bit more agave (about a tablespoon or two) and bake them for a little less (about 5 minutes less) then i’ll bet you’ll be fine.


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