I go running a few evening a week while my husband and kids have dinner. On those days I need eat something in the late afternoon to both fuel my workout and to tide me over until I eat my later than usual dinner.
These energy bars work perfectly for me. I eat one with a cup of milk about an hour before I work out. My kids also love these for a snack (or even a quick breakfast on crazy mornings). And since they are so easy to make, I don’t mind throwing a batch together every week or two. I leave a few out on the counter in a container, and the rest I individually wrap and throw in the freezer. I take one out a couple of hours before I’m going to eat it, and I’ve found that I actually prefer the texture of the bars after they’ve been frozen — they’re more chewy.
Note: The first time I made these I followed the recipe exactly, and they were great. The second time I made them I was out of light brown sugar, so I substituted dark brown sugar. I also used 3/4 cup mini chocolate chips in the batter and didn’t bother drizzling any chocolate on top. I liked them even better that way, so that is how I always make them now.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Energy Bars
Non-stick cooking spray
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup creamy or chunky peanut butter
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups barley flakes or rolled oats
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dry-roasted peanuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 13- X 9- inch baking pan with cooking spray.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. In a large bowl, beat brown sugar and peanut butter until well combined. Beat in the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture. Add the barley flaked (or rolled oats), cranberries, peanuts, and 3/4 cup chocolate chips, stirring to combine.
3. Spread evenly in the prepared pan (I find the best way to do that is to pat it down with wet hands). Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned and firm to the touch. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
4. In a small bowl set on a pan of simmering water, melt the remaining 1/4 cup chocolate chips, stirring until smooth. With a fork, drizzle chocolate over bars; refrigerate until set. Cut into 24 bars.
Per bar: Calories 176; Fat 8.2g (sat 2.3g, mono 3.7, poly 1.8); Cholesterol 16mg; Protein 4g; Carbohydrate 24g; Sugars 16g; Fiber 2g; Iron 1mg; Sodium 62mg; Calcium 18mg.
*Adapted from Health Magazine