I’ve been testing a few new recipes these past few days, some of which I had planned on posting to the blog this week, but my trials didn’t turn out as great as I expected them to be. I mean, the recipes were good, but not blog-worthy good. I need to go back to the drawing board and make some more testing before I can share them with you here.
Thankfully, this delicious recipe has been in my back pocket for a little while and comes pretty handy this week. It’s finally time to share it with you! I love pairing tahini with figs (like I did with my fig, tahini & honey overnight oats), so I thought this flavour combo would make an awesome bar. And I was right. These treats are a nice change from the usual nuts/oats/chocolate granola bars. I love the combination of puffed millet and buckwheat, which give a very interesting chewy + crunchy texture.
These bars are gluten-free, nut-free and vegan. They’re both crispy and chewy, and they’re a charm to put together – no oven necessary!
These bars were also tested a few times before I finally nailed the recipe. Although the taste was always spot on, they couldn’t quite hold together on my first few trials. The third time around I managed to make them bind together to perfection, thanks to the magic of brown rice syrup. Although brown rice syrup is not my favorite sweetener (I prefer maple syrup or honey), it does have a great advantage over its competitors: it has an amazingly sticky texture that makes pretty much everything glue together. It is also slightly less sweet, making it a great choice for desserts that contain naturally sweetened dried fruits.
Brown rice syrup (also known as rice syrup or rice malt syrup), is a sweetener derived from culturing cooked rice with enzymes to break down the starches, and then cooking it until it becomes a syrup. The final product is a lightly sweet, thick syrup, with a caramel-like flavour that actually doesn’t resemble brown rice at all. Brown rice syrup is essentially made of maltose and glucose (it contains no fructose), so it’s a good alternative for people suffering from fructose intolerance. It contains a good percentage of complex sugars, which take longer to digest than the simple sugars we find in white sugar for example, and is therefore more gentle on blood sugar spikes.
You can find brown rice syrup in health food stores or even in the natural food section of grocery stores. I like to use this brand.
Notes on the recipe: I’ve included mesquite powder for its unique caramel-y flavour and extra nutrients. If you can’t find it, you could use lucuma powder, or even maca powder as a substitute. If you don’t have any of them, I’m pretty sure the bars would still turn out delicious, although you might want to add a teaspoon or so of honey or maple syrup for a little extra sweetness.
Tahini, Sesame & Fig Puffed Millet Bars
- 2 cups puffed millet or puffed quinoa
- 1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats
- 1/3 cup toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1 1/2 tbsp mesquite powder or lucuma powder
- 4-5 dried figs chopped
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
Line a 8 x 8 baking dish with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the puffed millet, buckwheat, sesame seeds, shredded coconut and mesquite powder. Fold in the chopped dried figs.
In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini and brown rice syrup. Pour over the bowl of dry ingredients and mix well until evenly coated (it will be very sticky, so you might want to use your hands at this point).
Put mixture into the parchment lined baking pan and press down to flatten evenly.
Place in freezer for about 30-40 minutes. Remove from the freezer and let set at room temperature until ready to cut into bars or squares. Keep in the fridge for a harder/crispier bar, or at room temperature if you like it softer/chewier (I prefer the latter option).
Be gentle with yourself; you are doing the best you can.