Thursday, July 30, 2009

Annie's Peanut Butter Power Bars

Jump-start your day with one of these delicious bars

They are packed with protein from the peanut butter, antioxidants from the berries, B vitamins from whole wheat flour and wheat germ, and heart healthy fats from the walnuts. Although there is a fair amount of butter used in this recipe, I replaced half of the saturated fat in a typical bar with a healthier fat ~ canola oil. So you still get all that buttery flavor with a lot less fat!

The inspriration for these bars came from one of my favorite desserts that my mom makes; her Apricot Bars. They are buttery, crunchy and fruity all in one. In one word they are heavenly.
The only thing is that I end up eating way to many of them whenever she makes a batch. I think I devoured 3/4 of them in one sitting once. NOT GOOD -( 'Er well they were good, but not good for me.) I shutter to think of the calories and saturated fat that I inhaled on that fine day.

So I decided to make a healthy alternative to my Mom's bars. I can't say that they are better than my Mom's recipe, but they certainly were delicious; and healthy too. I could have gone with tub margarine in place of butter, but I think one of the best things about these bars are the buttery taste. As I said above, I did reduce the butter by half and replaced it with canola oil. I am a firm believer in all good things in moderation. (Except of course when Mom puts a plate of those Apricot Bars in front of me!)

Starting with great ingredients is the first step...

Press half of the dough into a parchment or foiled lined bake sheet and then load on the filling!

To make putting on the top layer of dough easier, roll it out in between 2 sheets of waxed paper.

Lift off the top sheet, turn over, place on top of the filling and remove the 2nd sheet of waxed paper.

When the bars are light golden brown, remove from the oven and let cool. Grab the edges of the parchment paper and lift the bars out of the pan. Cut in half and then into equal size bars.

Annie's Peanut Butter Power Bars
by Mixed Salad Annie

1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons wheat germ (optional)
1/4 cup natural cane sugar
1/4 cup packed natural brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp. either almond or vanilla extract
1 egg
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
3/4 cup of your favorite preserves (I used Apricot, but often use Raspberry as well)
1 1/2 cups natural peanut butter
1 1/2 cups mixed dried fruit (such as Sunsweet Antioxident Blend)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
In an electric mixer or large mixing bowl blend together the butter, sugars and oil until creamy.
Add the egg and extract and blend until well combined. Add the wheat germ. Sift the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add to the butter mixture slowly until just combined. Gently mix in the walnuts. Reserve half of the mixture (about 1 1/2 cups) and set aside.

Press the mixture onto the bottom of a 8 1/2 x 12 inch (or 9 x 11) baking pan lined with parchment paper or foil. Spread 1/2 of the peanut butter over the mixture evenly. Dot the preserves all over, staying within 1/2 inch from edge. Sprinkle the dried fruit evenly over the top. Dot the remaining peanut butter evenly over the top.

Place reserved mixture between two sheet of waxed paper. Roll the mixture to the size of the pan. Remove the top piece of waxed paper, carefully flip it and place on top of the prepared mixture in the pan. Remove the remaining waxed paper.

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool completely. Grab the edges of the parchment paper and lift the bars out of the pan. Cut in half and then into equal size bars.


Juliana said...

Love these bars, like the idea of having the peanut butter and the dry fruits in it. Looks really yummie, really a great way to start your day. Have to try this!

CookiePie said...

Oh yum - those bars look so satisfying!!

Susan @ SGCC said...

My daughter would go crazy for these bars. She practically lives on peanut butter and protein bars as it is. Teenagers!

They really look scrumptious!

Unknown said...

MMM, pb :) these bars look great!

Unknown said...

pb bars--yum :)

Anonymous said...

Oh those look so good.
They are just a little "sinful", right?

Emily said...

My goodness. I just created a recipe similar to this last night. Well, except it's not healthy at all.

These look SO good. I prefer them over mine. Mine were a bit greasy.

Anonymous said...

hi.. just dropping by here... have a nice day!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Those bars are for me! I love that kind of speciality! Yours look really scrumptious!



Anonymous said...

These bars are a lovely inspiration to healthy eating,well I did try them..delicious bambola

Anonymous said...

These look FABULOUS, can't wait to try them!!