If your get up and go got up and went (Schoolhouse Rock reference– anybody? :)), I hanker for one of these goji bars.
After a long run, or frankly, just a long day, I need a serious dose of carbohydrates to refuel or else I risk terrorizing the city. Anyone else get that hungry? It’s far too easy to reach for something starchy or bread-y, so it’s doubly important for me to keep some healthy snacks on hand to tame my hunger beast and pump me up for the next round of activities. Like a swim. Or dishes. Perhaps driving a pack of 10-year-olds to summer camp.
Enter my no-bake goji-cashew energy bars. High in fiber, fruit-sweetened, and seriously tasty (buttery cashews, caramel-like dates, exotic goji berries), they fit the I-need-carbs-now-or-someone-is going-to-get-hurt requirements to a T.
Have you tried goji berries? If not, this is a simple way to experiment with their flavor, and (as I note below), you only need a small portion. Native to Tibet, gojis have gotten a good deal of buzz in recent years because they are considered to be one of the most nutrient dense fruits in the world. For example, they have the highest concentration of protein of any fruit, are packed with vitamin C, have fifteen times the amount of iron found in spinach, and areantioxidant powerhouses.
I like them as an option for dried fruit in general because they are relatively low in sugar for dried fruit, plus they have a unique earthy, fruity flavor. Nevertheless, please feel free to make these pucks with other dried fruit, or perhaps cacao nibs (or mini chocolate chips; why the heck not).
One of my tricks for keeping these bars frugal, lean and pretty, too, is to make the stir-ins (in this case, cashews and goji berries) press-ins. You get the visual appeal of star ingredients sitting right on top, it’s easier to ensure those same ingredients in every bites, and you can keep the quantities to a minimum (cheap and lean!). You can use this technique for cookies and bars of all kinds (it’s especially handy with chocolate chips).
Place the dates in a small bowl and cover with hot (not boiling) water to cover. Let stand 10 minutes and then drain.
In a food processor, process the oats into a fine flour. Add drained dates; process until blended. Add the flaxseed meal, nut butter, milk and salt; process until blended into a cohesive “dough”.
Remove dough from processor and divide into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and press each into a prepared muffin cup. Sprinkle cashews and goji berries equally over dough and then press firmly into surface of dough. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes (until firm) before removing from tin).
Storage: Store the pucks in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months. These will keep at room temperature for more than a day, but will get softer.
Goji Alternatives: Feel free to use an equal amount of coarsely chopped dried fruit in place of the goji berrie (e.g., cranberries or cherries).