Recipe of the week: Aztec Energy Bars

Aztec Energy Bars are prepared with a cornucopia of oats, nuts and dried fruits, but what really sets them apart is a traditional Mexican grain – the nutritional, and gluten-free, powerhouse of amaranth that was a staple of the ancient Aztecs. Amaranth was a food of the gods in the Aztec world, used in ritual drinks and dishes. It held such sway over the Aztecs that the Spanish outlawed its cultivation after the conquest. The amaranth grain has been rediscovered by nutritionists and foodies (it has more protein than wheat, low carbohydrate content and is rich in amino acids, fiber, calcium, magnesium and iron) and can now can be found in health- and specialty-food stores or online. Makes approx. 3 dozen bars.

Aztec Energy Bars

Ingredients

4 cups oats
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup sliced ​​almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup organic honey
1 ½ cups diced dried apricots (or diced dried peaches)
1 cup diced candied figs
1 cup dried cherries or raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups amaranth

Directions

Preheat oven to 350°C. Combine the oats, coconut, walnuts and almonds in a large bowl. Stir the olive oil and honey together in a small bowl and pour over the oat mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until completely mixed together. Spread the mixture on an oven tray and bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Blend in the dried fruits and return to the oven for about 5 more minutes.

For the bars

1 cup agave syrup

Bring the agave syrup to a boil. Transfer the energy bar mixture to a tray basted with a little oil to prevent sticking. Add the hot syrup to the mixture and combine thoroughly with a spatula. Using a rolling pin, flatten and compact. Once hardened, transfer to a cutting board and using a sharp knife cut into bars in the shape and size you desire.

Thank you to Paco Isordia, Executive Chef at Viceroy Zihuatanejo for the recipe.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Clay says:

    I totally need to do this now! I’ve never heard of amaranth before so i’m really excited to see how it tastes. My inner health nut is overjoyed, thanks!

  2. I suppose, the Aztecs was adding to those bars one more important ingredient: Coca leaves :-) It seems, they liked it very much.

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