Amaranth-Nut Energy Bars

2008 Delicious Living Reader Recipe Contest: HONORABLE MENTION: Dessert
Makes 20-24 / Loaded with good stuff for lasting energy. Molasses makes a nutritious but earthy sweetener; if you like more sweetness, experiment with a combination of molasses and honey or agave nectar.

1 teaspoon olive oil
3 tablespoons amaranth
1 4.25-ounce box Blue Diamond Pecan Nut Thins
1/4 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup Blue Diamond Blanched Sliced Almonds
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup organic dark chocolate chips
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ
1/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup organic molasses
2 Organic Valley large eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350˚. Coat a 9x13-inch baking pan with olive oil.

2. To pop amaranth, heat a 2-quart pot on very high heat. After pan is heated, add a few amaranth kernels. When they pop, add 1 tablespoon amaranth and shake pot over high heat until most are popped, about 30 seconds. Pour into a bowl. Repeat process with remaining amaranth, 1 tablespoon at a time.

3. Place crackers in a food processor and process until crumbled (not too fine). Transfer to a large bowl and add popped amaranth, plus all remaining ingredients except molasses and eggs. Mix well. Add molasses and eggs and mix by hand or with a mixer. Press into baking pan and spread evenly. Bake until just done, about 20 minutes. Cut into squares.

The 2008 Recipe contest is sponsored by:
Blue Diamond Crown Prince Myenberg Imagine Kikkoman Organic Valley Mori-Nu Rachel's Dairy

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