Saturday, April 28, 2012

Knockoff KIND Bars

All right, I'm excited about this one! I don't know how many of you out there have tried KIND bars (if you haven't, check them out here) but they are one of my favorite snacks. They are gluten-free and made with simple ingredients like fruit and nuts AND, most importantly, they taste delicious. They're also super portable and easily eaten using only one hand (a must for a parent of a small, superwiggly, toddler). The only problem is they tend to cost a small fortune ($2+ per bar) so in order to justify indulging in these tasty treats on a regular basis I had to learn how to make them at home and on the cheap. I started by checking the list of ingredients on the Almond Coconut KIND bar which was surprisingly short: almonds, coconut, honey, and puffed rice. To be fair, soy lecithin and chicory root were also listed but I didn't have any idea what either item was let alone have them in my pantry (after some research, though, I intend to purchase both items and experiment with them in this recipe - more on that in a future entry). Then I just started adding ingredients to a pan on the stove over low heat until the mixture started resembling the consistency and almond-to-coconut ratio that the actual KIND bars have. The process was not unlike making rice crispy treats, the end result was just a lot healthier.

Well, here are the results of my very first attempt and I must say I am quite pleased! I will definitely still be tweaking the recipe til I have it just where I want it but as for now, this version of the Almond Coconut KIND bar makes for an awesome snack (especially when paired with a glass of iced coffee). I used way too much honey on this first batch which resulted in bars that fell apart very easily at room temperature, but if you keep them in the fridge until you're ready to eat them they stay together fine. I did adjust the honey amount down in the following recipe and intend to mess around with the ratios of ingredients in future batches but as for now, do yourself a favor and give this recipe a try!

Almond Coconut Bars
Serves: 8

5 oz raw whole almonds
5 oz shaved (not shredded) coconut
3/4 cup crispy rice
1/3 cup honey

1. Toast the almonds and coconut lightly in a pan over medium heat. Stir regularly and watch carefully as they tend to burn easily.
2. Add crispy rice and honey. Stir until the entire mixture is evenly coated with honey.
3. Line an 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil and spray with no-stick baking spray.
4. Transfer the mixture into the parchment-lined pan and line the top with another sheet of greased parchment paper, grease side facing down (basically you are just using it as a barrier between your hands and the bars). Use your hand or a spatula to press the mixture as flat as you can. The more compact, the more likely it is to stay in one piece. Put the pan in the fridge and let the bars chill for about an hour. Slice into 8 pieces and enjoy! Store remaining bars in the fridge until you are ready to eat them.

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