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Sweet Sesame Chocolate Almond Cereal Bars

Sweet Sesame Chocolate Almond Cereal Bars

I love tahini!!! That feels like an appropriate place to start here. Tahini is the amazing nutty, warm, rich, earthy, toasty butter made from ground sesame seeds. I have been playing around with ways to incorporate this delicious seed butter into a bit of a different format rather than the usual dressings and hummus. The idea of taking an item that is perhaps most commonly used in savory preparations and finding interesting sweet avenues to explore with it is fun! Also, I just like the sound of “sweet sesame”, and so that is how we have arrived at these awesome cereal bars.

When you bite into one of these bars, the tahini brings a flavor familiar like peanut butter, yet still distinctly foreign. If you aren’t well acquainted the taste of tahini, you may not recognize that it is the tahini you are savoring, but only that it tastes exceptional. 

The flavor backbone of toasty sesame seeds is complimented by nutty chunks of almond, rich dark chocolate, sweet and floral honey, as well as a bit of warming cinnamon. The vehicle for all this is a heap of wholesome and satisfying toasted oats. Textures and flavors blend perfectly yielding a superb homemade cereal bar. 

Flip to the nutrition facts and you would find that each bar packs in some serious fueling nutrient-dense energy. Each one bar serving has 295 calories, 16g fat, 33g carbohydrate, 7g protein, 4g fiber. If you are looking for a filling snack to help you power through until your next meal, this is a great option. They even have enough protein to compete with some “protein” bars/snacks out there. Plus, they are peanut free (and totally nut free sans almonds), so they are a delicious alternative to many bars commonly made with peanut butter for those who aren’t able to have peanuts or nuts.

I know it is easy to just pick up a stack of granola bars from the store for the week. But, why not make your own at home where you can control the ingredients and create a unique kind of bar that I doubt you can find at the grocery store. Try this simple (no bake!) recipe and make your mouth, mind, and body happy!

Sweet Sesame Chocolate Almond Cereal Bars
Makes 8 bars
 
2 cups (190g) rolled oats
¼ cup (40g) almonds, roughly chopped
1 ¾ oz. (50g) dark chocolate, chopped
2 tbs. (20g) sesame seeds, toasted
½ cup (130g) tahini
6 tbs. (115g) honey
½ tsp. cinnamon
scant ½ tsp. salt
 
Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C. Combine oats and almonds on a sheet tray big enough so they can form a single layer. Toast in the oven for 15 minutes, until nuts are a little fragrant and oats are more golden in color. Let cool.
 
In a big bowl, combine the oats and almonds with the rest of the ingredients. Stir together well with a spoon or spatula. Choose a 6-8 cup (1.5-2L) container (I used a 7x13” glass dish) and line it with parchment or plastic wrap. Firmly and evenly press the bar mixture into the lined container. Cover the surface with parchment or plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour, to chill through. Then cut into 8 equal bars. These can be stored covered at room temperature or in the fridge. They will last about a week (unless you eat them first that is).
 
Notes: If your sesame seeds are untoasted, toast them in the oven at the same time as the oats and almonds. Use a separate little tray or some sturdy foil for the sesame though, as they shouldn’t take as much time to toast. They are done when golden and fragrant. You could use milk chocolate instead of dark, and chocolate chips instead of chopped chocolate if you want. 

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