I readily admit that when my kids were little I was never good at packing snacks like other mothers, who whipped out containers of plain Cheerios and sliced apples at the park. Today, those mothers would be handing out Carrot Cake Action Bars from the new cookbook "Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook" by Camilla V. Saulsbury. So it was a very proud moment for me when my daughter-in-law was going on a long drive with three co-workers and I remembered to give her a container of Cherry Pie Bars to eat on the road. I don't imagine that they lasted long because my husband and daughter and I thought they were pretty addictive. In fact, I expect that my daughter, who has recently taken up running and is looking for healthy food to eat after a run, has designs on this cookbook and if I'm not careful it will migrate to her apartment.
 
I spent a large part of the summer sitting in hospital emergency rooms at all hours of the day and night, and I could really have used just about any of the recipes in the book. It would have been wonderful to nibble on Green Tea and Ginger Bars or Citrus-Seed-Fruit Bars rather than the glazed doughnuts and oversized muffins that were available to those who were waiting hours on end for doctors and test results. A healthy hit of protein and fruit would have been most welcome.
 
Homemade Cherry Pie BarI've never been interested in the individually wrapped bars that you can buy, but this book is filled with interesting-sounding recipes that I want to try. The book is broken down into chapters with recipes that are knock-offs of commercially made power bars, then activity bars, endurance bars, protein bars and raw and almost raw bars. You can find lots of fruits, some chocolate, some bars with icing for those who want something sweet, but also ingredients such as kale (yes, kale!) and chickpeas and lentils. In other words, something for everyone. If your family likes power bars such Clif Bars or Nature Valley or Larabars, then you'll get a lot out of the knock-off chapter, which is where the cherry pie bar recipe comes from. Those wrapped bars are expensive and these are so easy to make and are fresh. Saulsbury also gives you the nutritional breakdown for each recipe and lots of tips and suggestions for substitutions.

Prep Time: 5 minutes  

Total time: 35 - 45 minutes  

Yields: 6 bars

 
Cherry Pie Bars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup packed dried cherries
  • 1/4 cup packed pitted soft dates
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt (optional)
Cooking directions
  1. Line a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Combine the cherries, dates and warm water in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until the fruit is soft (time will vary according to the dryness of the fruit). My fruit was very moist, so I skipped this step altogether. Drain and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Meanwhile, place the almonds in a food processor and process until finely chopped (but not a paste). Add the drained fruit, cinnamon and salt (if using). Process, using on/off pulses, until the fruit is finely chopped and blended and the mixture begins to stick together and clump on the sides of the bowl.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place a large piece of parchment paper, wax paper, or plastic wrap atop the bar mixture and use it to spread and flatten the mixture evenly in the pan; leave the paper or plastic wrap to cover. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Using the liner, life the mixture from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Uncover and cut into 6 bars.
Note: The bars keep for three days at room temperature, for three weeks in the refrigererator and for three months in the freezer.

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