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. Whiskey wasn't my thing, but then I visited the Teeling Distillery in Ireland

    Travel

    DUBLIN

    If you drink your way through a four-day trip to Ireland, can you make an honest recommendation on anything?

    The focal point of the Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin is the copper pots used in the process.
  2. Great trailers for great movies: 1982's 'The Thing'

    Blogs

    John Carpenter knows how to make a movie. And even way back 35 years ago in 1982, Hollywood knew how to make great trailers for them. Keep in mind this was a rare moment of serendipity during a time when movie trailers were - frankly - just wince-worthy.

  3. Looking Back: Adele and her baby koala come out of hiding (December 27, 1991)

    Attractions

    This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on December 27, 1991. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Tony Lopez.

    BABY KOALA IS NOW OUT OF POCKET

    By Amber Grimes

    Times staff …

    Kunara, Busch Garden's shy baby koala, has been working his way out of his mother Adele's pouch since his birth.

TIMES | Tony Lopez
  4. Taste of Tampa Bay: Pam's Roti Shop and Caribbean Market in St. Petersburg

    Food & Dining

    Pam Prasad, who is originally from Guyana, runs Pam's Roti Shop and Caribbean Market on 38th Avenue N in St. Petersburg with her two sons. Prasad loves to educate her customers about her food, customs and culture. The place is known for its variety of roti combinations, goat dishes and spices.

    Pam Prasad makes roti at Pam's Roti Shop at 2800 38th Ave N. in St. Petersburg. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  5. Plan your weekend: June 30-July 2: Vans Warped Tour, fireworks, corgi races, Guardian Con, Dan TDM

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Vans Warped Tour: The shirtless and inked-up masses will once again descend upon St. Petersburg's Vinoy Park on Saturday to mosh and thrash to dozens of bands across seven stages. This year brings the likes of Gwar, thrash group Municipal Waste, Southern metal band Valient Thorr, …

    Corgi in the grass; Dog playing the the grass; iStockphoto.com