Well, maybe. You decide.
Here's the story: I got this crazy idea in my head that I wanted to make my own snack bars. Preferably raw and vegan. These turned out to be vegan, but not raw. Not a complete success...however, cheaper than buying pre-packaged bars and a lot more healthy too! I did some research before beginning to put my ideas to the test, and ended up with this ingredient list:
- Raw almonds (1/2 cup)
- Pumpkin seeds (1/2 cup)
- Whole organic flax seeds (1/3 cup)*
- Agave syrup (tablespoon and a half)
- Cinnamon (teaspoon)
- Dried plums (cut up)
- Dark chocolate chips (made without milk)
*would have been 1/2 a cup if not for the misfortune described below
I bought the majority of these on the cheap from the bulk foods section of my local health store (I love you Earth Fare, oh yes I do...) excepting the organic cinnamon, organic flax seeds, and dried plums I already had on hand. The recipe I looked at online called for some different ingredients, a lot more of each, and (here's the kicker) a food dehydrator.
I'm a college student. I don't have a dehydrator. So I used a toaster oven (at 200 degrees instead of the 145 that was recommended for the food dehydrator). And that's where the recipe stopped being raw, I guess. But it prevailed!
First I soaked the almonds, pumpkin seeds, and flax seeds overnight:
Yes, in cups, because...how else are you supposed to do it?
Then in the morning I drained the almonds & pumpkin seeds and proceeded to mash them up using my beloved hand immersion blender. A food processor or a blender would have been more practical, except I (again) don't have one. So I substituted and threw a cloth over the bowl to keep bits in...this resulted in sort of a blind stabbing process for blending up the almonds and pumpkin seeds into a chunky paste, but it worked.
Until that happened, but I'm gonna pin this one on gravity.
That little mishap resulted in me losing about half the chunky almond-pumpkin seed mix, but it's okay. I made it work. I'm notorious for this. Usually I'm crazy precise and organized, but when it comes to recipes...sometimes I just like to just test my skills and try things. Go with the flow, man.
The aforementioned chunky paste. and yes that is a cup of tea.
So now came time to add the flax seeds & agave. Since I had less mix than planned (and yes I washed the hand blender, no worries), I used less flax seeds. They were a bit complicated to drain, since they're too small to properly use a colander, and the process generally involved a lot of awkward water pouring and shifting between bowls.
The flax seeds, after soaking, had this weird slimy texture that was sort of gross but also sort of cool. You know what I mean, we've all been there.
I took 1/3 a cup of flaxseeds and about a tablespoon and a half of the agave syrup, and stirred them into the mixture. I then added a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon. After all that was mixed into a sticky paste (sounds soooo appetizing, I know, but trust me it smells awesome) I stirred in a handful of chopped-up dried plums and dark chocolate chips.
I spread the mixture onto a little toaster-oven tray like so, nice and flat and even.
And since I had no idea how long to cook it, I chose a lovely 45 minutes. Then I cut it into squares (whatever size you prefer, mine were a few inches long and maybe two across) and stuck it back in for another 15 or so minutes. When I liked the texture, I flipped the bars and cooked the other side of them for another 15.
Then it was done! (according to my completely unexpert opinion)
The finished product!
You know, I was tentative after all the mishaps, but these turned out pretty good! A little soft, but the nuts and seeds made for a nice texture. They had great flavor because of the cinnamon and a touch of sweetness from the agave. The chocolate made them a bit messier than I had intended, but all in all...
I liked it, and even took some along to my riding lesson yesterday. Food success. Let me know if you decide to make them, or something like them, and how it turns out! I think you could really mix it up with this recipe - use whatever seeds, nuts, fruits, etcetera you like! Happy experimenting :)