So Hubs’ birthday is coming up in a few days. I’m pretty sure that now his birthday will always be a little overshadowed by Little Man’s since they’re only just over a week apart. Luckily Hubs isn’t fussy about his birthday and is happy to have a simple night on the town with me. Yay. But I thought that before I got myself all dolled up, I should give you all an easy recipe that can carry you through the weekend.
For Little Man’s birthday, one of the things I made was birdseed bars. Besides being delicious and healthy, these bars are also gluten-free and dairy-free! And they’re sweetened only with honey. They are really easy and very versatile.
I got the idea from a birdseed bar I’d had from our local health food store. I looked at the ingredient list to have an idea what to put in it, and just made it up from there.
Let’s get started!
Here’s what you need: cashews, pepitas (pumpkin seeds), sunflower seeds (hulls removed), unsweetened desiccated coconut, black sesame seeds, honey, and natural peanut butter. Note: these aren’t the cheapest bars to make, so I have some suggestions at the end if you’re concerned about cost.
You’ll need 2 cups roughly chopped cashews, 1 1/2 cups pepitas, and 1 1/2 cups sunflower seed kernels.
Place those all in a bowl and add 1/2 cup each coconut and sesame seeds. You can use regular sesame seeds here if you can’t find the black ones, but I think it looks a lot more like birdseed with the black in there. If you’re not concerned about excess sugar, you can use sweetened coconut here, but the final product is definitely adequately sweet without it. I also like that the coconut I used was grated really finely. I think it helps hold it all together and it doesn’t add a distinct coconut flavor, if you’re worried about it.
Next, heat 2 cups honey until boiling. Do this in a medium saucepan. I thought my small saucepan would be plenty big, but the honey nearly boiled over. Boil for 1 minute.
Turn the heat off and add 1 1/2 cups natural peanut butter. Stir until it’s well-incorporated. Again, you could use conventional creamy peanut butter in here, but you really don’t need any extra sugar. But unfortunately, the more processed stuff is less expensive, so use whatever works for you.
Pour the honey mixture over the nut mixture until well combined and press into a lightly greased 9×13 pan.
When cool, slice into squares. We got 32 bars out of this, but you can slice however big or small you want.
These bars are really delicious. They’re softer than, say, a rice krispie bar, but they still hold together well. They actually are a little firmer than the ones from our health-food store. That might be because there’s a higher peanut butter content. So if you wanted, you might be able to decrease the peanut butter to 1 cup and still have it work.
There are tons of ways to vary this recipe. You can switch up the kinds of nuts & seeds used, or if you want to make it a little lighter (and less expensive to make) you could replace part of the nuts & seeds with puffed brown rice. You could make them vegan by trading out the honey for maple syrup or brown rice syrup or a mix of regular sugar and syrup. You could use whatever nut butter floats your boat and throw in some dried fruit. I would just suggest making sure you stick to around 6 cups of dry ingredients to 3 or 3 1/2 cups wet. In any case, these are easy to make and are perfect little energy bars! If you want to store them long-term, make sure they’re tightly covered, or wrap individual bars in plastic wrap for any easy way to take them on the go!
2 cups coarsely chopped cashews
1 1/2 cups pepitas
1 1/2 cup sunflower kernels
1/2 cup desiccated coconut
1/2 cup black sesame seeds
2 cups honey
1 1/2 cups natural peanut butter
Mix together cashews, pepitas, sunflower kernels, coconut, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Put honey in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute. Turn off heat and add peanut butter. Stir until well-incorporated. Pour over nut mixture and stir well. Press firmly into a lightly greased 9×13 pan. When cool, slice and serve. May be stored in an airtight container for several days.