Orange Spice Hazelnut Bars

The flavor of these tasty oat bars has to be one of my all time favorites!  I think this recipe goes well in any season and has a refreshing flavor.  The citrus goes just as well as with the summer sun, while the cayenne adds some heat to the cool winter months.  We all have a different preference and tolerance to spicy foods, so we used just enough cayenne pepper spice to appease most palettes.  Feel free to increase or decrease the amount to your liking.  A word of caution, the pepper will be noticed after a few bites and is known to “creep up” in intensity.  So keep this in mind if you choose to experiment.  We hope you like it as much as we do!

Dry Ingredients

  • 4 cups Thick Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 cup crushed Hazelnuts
  • 1/4 cup Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1/4 cup Maca Powder
  • 1 cup of Buckwheat Flour
  • 1/2 cup Flax Meal
  • 3 Dates, chopped
  • 3/4 cup Raisins
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • Zest of 1 orange and squeeze for juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt1 teaspoon Baking Soda (add as last dry ingredient)

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk.  First measure juice from 1 squeezed orange (about 1/4 cup) then add almond milk (about 1 3/4 cup) to make 2 cups total of liquid.
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon Chia Seeds (add with vanilla, almond milk and orange juice before mixing with dry ingredients, let sit for a few minutes while you get the dry ingredients together to allow chia seeds to soak)
  • 2 bananas

Directions
Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.  The easy way to crush the hazelnuts, place several nuts on a cutting board at a time.  Then with the flat, broad side of chef knife or similar flat surface (keeping hands clear of sharp side of the blade), place over hazelnuts and lightly tap hand onto the flat side to crush the nuts.  While you are getting the dry ingredients ready, measure the almond milk, with the orange juice, then mix in the vanilla and chia seeds.  Allow this to sit for a few minutes while you mix together the dry ingredients.  While the bananas are still in the peel, mash them up with your hands.  Then remove peel and place in the dry ingredients.  Pour the almond milk mixture over top and mix everything together.  Ensure you don’t see any dry parts that haven’t been absorbed by the almond milk.  You will notice that this mixture gets pretty thick as you mix it.  This is normal as the moisture interacts with the flax and chia seeds.

Lightly coat a 12″x 8″x 2″ Pyrex or other type of baking dish with coconut oil and place the mix in and spread evenly.

Bake for 18-20 minutes @ 375.

Cool for 5 minutes, cut into squares (4 wide by 6 long for a total of 24 bars) and place on cooling rack to prevent over-drying for about 15-25 minutes.

Either place the bars in a storage container of your choice, or if you are taking them on a trip, then I recommend a quart sized zip lock bag.  I manage to squeeze 9 bars into each bag and usually bring 2 bags on each 4-day trip.

**With all the oat bar recipes, we do not use any refined sugar.  All the sweetness comes naturally from the pure food ingredients.  For this reason, you will notice that the sweetness really shows itself after the oat bars have had a chance to sit overnight  allowing the sugar to release and mix in with the rest of the ingredients.

Additionally,  they share the same nutritious base!  The rolled oats are a great whole grain source of protein and fiber, as well as a variety of minerals, and help reduce the risk of heart disease.  They have a relatively low count of omega 6 to omega 3 which is balanced with the use of both flax seeds and chia seeds, which are the only seed sources that are higher in omega 3 than omega 6.  The flax seeds are high in minerals and lignans, and reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer.  We went with walnuts for a reason, as they have a better ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 than most other nuts.  Other research shows them to have an anti-inflammatory effect as well.  All seeds are great sources of phytosterols, which dramatically reduce cholesterol, so we went with pumpkin seeds for the flavor and texture.  Also, seeds are a great source of tryptophan, an amino acid that aids the brain’s ability to absorb serotonin, when consuming a plant based diet.  They are mini mood enhancers!  We choose almond milk over dairy for obvious reasons, to learn more, visit the science behind it section of our website.**

So you can’t go wrong with these bars!  Just choose the flavor you like the most, or rotate them through for some variety.

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