Spent Grain Peanut Honey Energy Bars
These bars are a favorite grab and go treat that are a tasty way to give an energy boost with all natural ingredients. These bars hold together very well but are not overly sticky, so they are easy to eat wherever you need a quick snack. Even better, they are easy to make! The spent grains add a crispy texture, malty sweet flavor, plus extra fiber. If you made a light beer, the spent grains will add a lighter flavor and clean malt sweetness. If using grains from a dark beer batch, expect more roasted and chocolate notes. In that case, go hog wild and add chocolate chips or dip the cut bars in melted chocolate!
Don't brew? Ask your homebrewing friends to give you some spent grains so you can make these tasty bars. Most brewers are happy to give the grains away. Make sure to keep the grains fresh by refrigerating them or freezing them until needed. If you cannot get your hands on spent grains, try making them with steel cut oats instead.
This basic recipe can be varied endlessly by adding different fruits and nuts, chocolate chips, bits of candy, or puffed cereal. As long as you stick to the proportions of grain, sweeteners, and oil or butter, the possibilities are almost endless. For the bars pictured here I used about 1/2 cup toasted chopped almonds, 1/4 cup dried cranberries, and 1/2 cup chopped dried apricots.
Makes one large tray, or roughly one dozen 6" x 3" bars.
2 cups spent grains- dried
2 cups rolled oats (quick cooking or old fashioned)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 to 1 cup chopped dried fruit (optional)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup barley malt syrup
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter*
1/2 teaspoon salt
*You can use almond butter or tahini instead. If you cannot use nut or seed butter, increase the butter to 1/2 cup.
Spread the grains on a cookie sheet and dry in a low heat oven (170 to 200° F). This may take up to 2 hours. If you have a dehydrator, solar oven, or a solar dryer, any of these methods may be used instead. You want the grains to be dry to the touch and crunchy. Stirring occasionally during the drying period will help speed up the process.
If desired, add the chopped nuts during the last 20 minutes of the drying process to toast the nuts and add a little caramel flavor to the nuts. If doing this, increase the heat to 325 F. The nuts may also be roasted separately from the grains if preferred, or pan roasted in a dry pan on medium heat.
The oats can also be toasted to enhance the flavor. You can add the oats with the nuts as described above, toast them separately, or toast them with the nuts.
Combine all dry ingredients including nuts and dried fruit in a mixing bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan slowly heat the malt syrup, honey, butter, peanut butter, and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour this mixture over the dry ingredients while still hot and mx thoroughly. For best results, add a third of the hot syrup at a time and mix well after each addition.
Line a large steep sided pan or pans with wax paper. Spoon in the mixture and press it firmly into he pan. Allow to cool for several hours at room temperature. Do not refrigerate, as this will make it very difficult to cut the bars. When cool cut into bars of your desired size and shape. Individually wrap each bar in waxed paper for portability, or keep in an airtight container. The bars will keep at room temperature for up to a week. They can be refrigerated or frozen for longer term storage but they are at their best eaten fresh!