Oh Look. Its Hiking Bars!

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After a two week vacation, summer has returned to the Juneau area, and it is once again time to make Hiking Bars.  I started making Hiking Bars about four years ago, after continual disappointment with the majority of granola type bars available in stores.  Some of the issues I have are with the ingredients, and some with the price.  So, I searched for and found a good recipe, modified it, and make these for hiking, other outdoor activities, as well as for a quick breakfast or snack when needed. 

The original recipe was found on the backpacker.com forums, though I do not have the link to the exact thread.  As for my modifications; I replaced white flour with whole wheat flour, substituted honey for the brown sugar (there was also honey in the original recipe), I use olive oil rather than vegetable oil, and I have added a lot more dried fruit, nuts, an egg, flax meal and wheat germ, some vanilla, as well as a pinch of nutmeg.  The end result is rather pleasing, and a nice source of energy when on the trail.  Someday, some M&M’s will go in the mixture also…….

The procedure for making the bars is simple.  Mix all dry ingredients, dump the wet ingredients in and mix with a wooden spoon (picture 1).  The most difficult part is spreading the mixture on a pan.  I use a Silpat because it is easy to remove the cooked bars to cool and cut.  The trick to spreading the mixture is to use a thick spatula dipped in water.  The water prevents the mixture from sticking onto the spatula, as long as the spatula is wet.  This method makes for a smooth top to the bars, and adds a bit of needed moisture.  You may notice in picture three, that the mixture is placed on an inverted cookie sheet.  This makes it easy to remove the bars for cooling without breaking them.  Removing the Silpat is east once the bars are cool.  Just hold the edge of the bars, and pull the Silpat from under the bars (or roll one edge of the Silpat under itself until it is removed from the bars. 

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Note that I do not spread the mixture to the edge of the Silpat.

Baked at 350 for 30 – 35 minutes, the bars are ready to cool and cut.  I do cut the bars when the mixture is warm, as this helps the bars not break or crumbling when cutting.  The bars are wrapped individually when still slightly warm, and last for about two weeks in a dark cool place.

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The bars look darker in the picture than they really are, but I also should have taken them out of the oven at 30 minutes rather than 35 this time.  Oh well, they taste great!

The Recipe:

Ingredient How Much Huh?
     
Oats, Rolled 199 grams
Four, Whole Wheat 4.125 ounce
Flax Meal 35 grams
Wheat Germ 2 ounce
Salt 0.50 teaspoon
Cinnamon 0.50 teaspoon
Nutmeg 1.00 dash
Walnuts 3 ounce
Blueberry, dry 81 grams
Cherry, dry 74 grams
Cranberry, dry 103.5 grams
Raisin 81.3 grams
Olive Oil 3.75 ounce
Honey 11 ounce
Water 2 or 3 tablespoons
Egg 1 each
Vanilla Extract 2 teaspoon

Please, no comments on the grams and ounces thing.  I did this in order to count the calorie content of the bars, and depending on the vendor of the product used, it came out as grams or ounces.  It does help that I have a good scale though that does both measures. 

A final note:  I do not usually follow this recipe exactly.  I usually add more dried fruit, nuts, and flax meal than noted above. 

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