Friday, December 3, 2010

Holy Hemp!

There is quite the trade going at my school for "natural" energy bars. The office sells them, along with all our textbooks - but even without the "inside" sales, I see more vega, soyjoy and larabars being eaten than anywhere else. I have to say I'm a bit surprised. After all, we are a nutrition college, which does emphasize whole food and actually eating breakfast, lunch and dinner (though if you talk to my current prof we'd all be on a week-long juice fast right now), so the thought of the processed, pre-wrapped bars is kind of contradictive.

But the demand is there, and seeing as I had a review copy of Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Melt-in-Your-Mouth Cookies by Alice Medrich standing by (review is forthcoming!) I figured I'd page through it and see if she had a nice, "wholesome" bar I could bring in. I did find a good base recipe - if you have the book it's her Honey Hemp Bars - and after making the original (according to mom: yum!) I knew I had something I could work with. I needed to make a fair amount of changes to it though: I make whatever I bring into the school vegan (if you saw the demographics of our program you'd totally understand!) and I try to bring in mostly gluten-free items, especially since one of my friends is gluten-free herself!

Then of course I set about emptying my pantry of every possible gluten-free and vegan add-in I could find: tahini, cacao nibs, bittersweet chocolate, flax, poppy, hemp, sesame and sunflower seeds, two types of nuts and every kind of dried fruit I could find! All the additions expanded the recipe so much that it essentially doubled in volume, which was fine by me... after all, I was feeding a goodly amount of people!

After baking them and letting them cool down (trust me, you need these to be completely cool before you cut them!), I figured I'd make them look like their $2.50 counterparts by wrapping them each in plastic wrap and slapping a label on them. I thought they were pretty nifty myself - and was asked more than once how much I was selling them for!

Wholesome Hemp Energy Bars
Makes 16
1/4 cup toasted buckwheat kernels (kasha)
1/4 cup water
2 cups puffed millet cereal
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp seeds
1/4 cup whole flax seeds
2 tbsp black sesame seeds
1 tbsp poppy seeds
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
3 tbsp miniature chocolate chips
2 tbsp currants
2 tbsp dried blueberries
2 tbsp gogi berries
2 tbsp dried cherries
2 tbsp dried cranberries
1 tbsp cacao nibs
1/3 cup dark agave nectar
1/4 cup dark corn syrup
2 tbsp tahini
1 tbsp fresh-grated ginger
  1. Preheat oven to 300F, line a 9x13 pan with parchment.
  2. Combine kasha and water in a microwaveable dish, cover and microwave on HI for 2 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
  3. In a bowl, combine kasha, millet cereal, nuts, seeds, chocolate, fruits and cacao nibs.
  4. In a small saucepan, heat agave, corn syrup, tahini and ginger, stirring until smooth and liquefied.
  5. Pour over the cereal mixture and fold in, stirring well to coat everything. It may not appear as if everything will be incorporated, but it will blend!
  6. Scrape into the prepared pan and with a spatula (I use an offset palette knife) press down into an even layer.
  7. Bake for 1 hour, covering pan with foil after 30 minutes.
  8. Cool completely, then lift out of the pan and cut into bars.
  9. Wrap individually in wax paper or cling wrap and keep at room temperature for up to 5 days or in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 175.9
Total Fat: 8.9 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 13.6 mg
Total Carbs: 22.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.1 g
Protein: 4.4 g

For those in the Durham region or who is a student at IHN that is interested in purchasing these bars, I am selling them for $1.75 each or as a box of 16 for $24 (a savings of $4).

I also specialize in made-to-order holistic, healthy baked goods and meals, lead grocery store tours (for those beginning new eating plans) and if there is enough demand will expand to cooking classes on a variety of topics. For those interested in nutritional counselling, cooking classes or ordering products (I am working on setting up a portfolio, but anything is fair game - if you have an idea let me know),
please e-mail me at


  1. Those sound great, but a lot of work too. How long do you think they'll last in the cupboard?

  2. oo these look delicious! And so much better than your standard "power bar" Love it!


Thanks for the feedback!