Make us your home page
Instagram

From the food editor: How to make Trail Mix Bars, a low-calorie sweet treat

Next week, we debut our Cake Issue of Taste, in which we'll feature recipes, profiles on local bakers, reader stories and more.

Which means that in the past few weeks, I have been interviewing people about cake. Making and photographing cake. Reading about cake.

And, well, eating cake.

Tough job, right?

While I firmly believe cake should be an essential part of everyone's lives, I fear I have become too dependent on the almost daily sugar fix. Really, it has to stop.

So this week's recipe is somewhat of a remedy for the cake overload. Basically, it's an answer to the question: How healthy can you make a sweet treat and still be satisfied by it?

For starters, call the treat "bars" instead of "cookies," and you will probably feel better about eating them.

Okay, nomenclature aside, these Trail Mix Bars are loaded with so many goodies you will hardly notice how little sugar and fat they contain.

The real trick is using a bare sheet pan to cook the bars in one large rectangle, which ensures they cook through and harden up slightly for a crunchy-chewy texture. It's all part of the cookie illusion.

These are very easy to make, another reason I turned to them after a long week of testing layer cakes and buttercream frosting. It's a two-bowl recipe that could easily become a one-bowl recipe if you're one of those people who doesn't always mix their dry ingredients together before adding them to the wet ingredients. (Guilty.)

For this reason and others, Trail Mix Bars are your friend. They freeze really well. They make an ideal to-go breakfast, especially if you slather some peanut butter between two bars and eat it like a sandwich. And best of all, they curb cake cravings.

For the most part.

Trail Mix Bars. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor

Trail Mix Bars. Photo by Michelle Stark, Times Food Editor

easy

Trail Mix Bars

Trail Mix Bars

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup almond flour or almond meal
  • 1 cup carrots, shredded
  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut, shredded
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 egg (use coconut oil instead for vegan bars)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup to 1 cup chocolate chips, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together flours, carrot, coconut, sugar, oats, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together water, egg or oil and vanilla.
  2. Add wet mixture to dry. Mix to combine. Fold in cherries, nuts and chocolate chips if using. (Sometimes I use a chocolate candy bar broken into small pieces if it's all I have on hand.)
  3. Pour batter onto a 9- by 13-inch baking sheet. If the sheet is pretty worn, line it with parchment paper. If it's clean enough, pour the batter directly onto it. Press batter down so it's flat and fills most of the baking sheet. It doesn't need to fill all of it. It's more important that the batter has a uniform thickness throughout.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Cool for
  5. 2 minutes and then remove to a cool rack to cool completely. Carefully cut into square bars. Store in the refrigerator or freezer. Makes about 2 dozen bars.
Source: Michelle Stark, Tampa Bay Times

From the food editor: How to make Trail Mix Bars, a low-calorie sweet treat 03/20/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 22, 2017 3:49pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Five recipe ideas for cooking with sparkling wine

    Cooking

    With high school and college graduation season upon us, you might find yourself stocking up on sparkling wine (if you don't normally). Though the obvious choice is to drink it all, you may find yourself with leftovers after all the parties are over. These five recipe ideas will use up that grad-friendly bubbly so …

    Sparkling Wine Risotto takes risotto up a notch.
  2. Portobello Mushrooms With Tuscan Kale and Sweet Potato work as main course or appetizer

    Cooking

    I've made no secret of my mushroom love. As I've written, I like to divide them into two categories: the interesting varieties (oysters, shiitakes, morels, puffballs and the like) that I find at the farmers market or forage; and the less-interesting ones (buttons, creminis) I buy at the supermarket. The former I …

    Portobello Mushrooms With Tuscan Kale and Sweet Potato will work as a main course or an appetizer.
  3. Spaceballs 2 could really happen, Mel Brooks says

    Blogs

    When Mel Brooks talks about a sequel to Spaceballs, ‘80s fans are tempted to politely smile and nod our heads. It’s a joke, we figure, because how can you possibly recapture the magic of the 1987 Star Wars spoof, especially since John Candy has passed away. 

  4. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for May 23

    Events

    Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons: The original Jersey boy himself has produced hits like Sherry, Walk Like A Man, Rag Doll, December '63 and Grease during his long-lasting career both solo and with the Four Seasons. 7:30 p.m., Ruth Eckerd Hall, 1111 N McMullen-Booth Road, …

    Saint PAUL, MN - JULY 25: Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons perform at the 2010 Starkey Hearing Foundation 10th Annual "So the World May Hear" Gala at Saint Paul RiverCentre on July 25, 2010 in Saint Paul, Minnesota.   (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images for Starkey Hearing Foundation) *** Local Caption *** Frankie Valli
  5. Painted with suspense

    Stage

    TAMPA — Sometimes a show comes along that does everything. It engages the senses on every level, tells a story that feels real and keeps you guessing to the end.

    Ned Averill-Snell, left, plays Latham and Landon Green is Stumpy, two working class painters working to convert a loft for a well-off couple.