Hitting the hiking trails can easily become an all day event. And, if you’re not fully prepared with a pack full with snacks, reaching the peak can become quite the feat.
These chocolate espresso trail bars are a mix between your morning cup of java and your favorite trail mix. Combined together in a bar, these snacks are easy to make and have loads of nutrition.
The base of these bars is peanut butter, honey and dark chocolate. This combination provides an excellent ratio of good fats, protein and flavor. Most people don’t realize, but peanuts are actually a legume and not a nut. These legumes provide vital nutrition and can help your body feel energized. One tablespoon of peanut butter contains 8 grams of protein and 30 percent of your daily niacin needs. Niacin, also known as vitamin B3, is an essential vitamin important to our digestive, cardiovascular and nervous systems (all utilized on any hike). The niacin naturally found in peanut butter also aids in the conversion of food you eat into energy you can use. Peanut butter is not only good for you, it also makes a perfect addition to this tasty trail snack.
Chocolate covered espresso beans are one of my all-time favorite snacks. I love keeping a stash in the freezer for whenever I need a jolt of sweet energy. Both dark chocolate and espresso beans contain powerful anti-oxidants that aid in balancing out the damaging free-radicals your body produces during a variety of activities – from hiking to soaking up the sun, and even breathing. They add a nice flavor and crunch to this bar and will give you an added boost for when you really need it. Here’s what I do.
- 2/3 cup unsalted, smooth peanut butter
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tbsp. instant coffee or espresso
- 3 cups rice crisp cereal
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup chocolate covered espresso beans
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup almonds (whole or slivered)
Directions: In a large bowl add your rice cereal, oats, almonds and dried cherries and set aside. Coat a 9-by-13-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside. Over low heat, melt and mix the peanut butter, chocolate chips, honey, ground instant coffee and cinnamon. Once fully melted and combined, add to your dry ingredients and mix until evenly coated. Once the mixture has cooled slightly, add in your chocolate covered espresso beans and gently stir.
Dump your mixture into your coated pan and press firmly down with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour to allow the bars to set completely. Cut into bar sizes of your choice. Pack what you need for the trail and save the rest in an airtight container.
These chocolate espresso trail bars will be your best friend against fatigue and hunger during a long hike up the trail.
Marion Michele Brown grew up in Lyndonville and graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in nutrition, food science and dietetics. She writes a healthy food blog: www.healthy-retreat.com.