I bet I caught you off guard with the name of this bar, didn’t I? This bar is part of my Long Haul™ series that I have created and dedicated to my dad who is a truck driver. I have shared a few of the recipes that I have made for him so far… the Long Haul™ Trail Mix Bar and Long Haul™ Banana Apple Granola Bars. You can read over those recipes and gain an understanding why I created this line of bars. Dedicated Run refers to a driver pulling freight for one specific shipper week after week, with same pick-up and drop-off points. My dad has hauled darn near everything, cows, oil, fish, you name it!
My goal with this bar was to make it nut-free and packed full of nutrients and it all started with sesame seeds. Even though this bar has o wonderful flavors, the taste of sesame seeds is prevalent to me. The seeds add a sweet, rich, nutty flavor. When toasted they take on the flavor of roasted peanuts with unique overtones. I have read that toasting the seeds can actually release more of their nutrients but I am still researching this. Raw is wonderful (!) but in the end, I aim for getting the most and best nutritional value from all the foods we eat.
I LOVE sesame seeds so I had to begin my journey by learning how they grow. If I had my way, I would travel the world to see how every food is grown and harvested. It is just that fascinating to me. The sesame seed plant grows to about 5 feet tall ( I see we have something in common hehe) and have bell-shaped flowers that vary in color; white, pale yellow, purple. The pods contain white, brown, or black seeds depending up on the cultivar type, arranged in rows inside. Each pod (2-5 cm in length) is a long rectangular box like capsule with deep grooves on its sides. A single pod may contain up to 100 or more seeds. Now come on, you have to admit, that is pretty darn cool. Most sesame seeds are still harvested by hand due to their fragility. The plants are cut into stalks with the pods intact and the leaves are removed. After being bundled up, the stalks are left in a dry area until the pods go brown. At that point the pods are crushed to gather the seeds. Ok, which one of you out there has a sesame seed orchard? I want to come visit.
Sesame seeds are chocked full of zinc , which is an essential mineral for producing collagen and giving skin more elasticity. Zinc also helps damaged tissues in the body to repair. Sounds like I need to bathe in this stuff. hehe Along with zinc, sesame seeds are high in copper which is a mineral that is important for anti-inflammatory and antioxidant enzyme systems.
Sesame contains unsaturated fats so they should be stored in airtight containers to avoid turning rancid. Properly stored dry seeds generally stay fresh for several months. Store hulled “white” seeds always in the refrigerator. Avoid old, offensive smelling (rancid) seeds. Now to make the bars and enjoy them!
yields 22 bars (1/4 cup each)
- Place the coconut butter jar in a large bowl and add hot water to start the melting/ softening process. Set aside.
- In a small bowl place the pitted dates and add enough hot water to cover them. Let them soak while you pull the rest of the ingredients together. Having the dates warm when mixing with the coconut butter will prevent the butter from clumping and seizing up.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, shredded coconut, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cacao nibs, chai seeds, cinnamon and salt. Mix together.
- Drain the dates from the soak water. No need to hand squeeze the excess water out, we need the moisture for the bar.
- In the food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, combine the dates, coconut butter, and agave until it form a paste.
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well with your hands.
- You can do one of two things; press the batter into a plastic lined baking pan or use the Spam Musubi Sushi Rice Press #K5SPS press. It is the greatest tool for creating compressed bar shapes. Well worth the purchase!
- Place the bars on the mesh sheet that comes with the dehydrator. Dry at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour, then reduce to 115 degrees (F) for 6-8 hours or until desired dryness is reached. OR you can skip the drying part and keep them stored in the fridge or freezer.
- Dip the bars into the hardening chocolate, let it set up (about 15 minutes) and enjoy!
The Institute of Culinary Ingredients™
- To learn more about maple syrup by clicking (here).
- Click (here) for my thoughts on raw agave nectar.
- Dates are an amazing ingredient for raw food recipes, click (here) to read why.
- Why do I specify Ceylon cinnamon? Click (here) to learn why.
- What is Himalayan pink salt and does it really matter? Click (here) to read more about it.
- Is coconut butter the same as coconut oil? Click (here) to find out.
- Are oats gluten-free? Yes, read more about that (here).
- Are oats raw? Yes, they can be found. Click (here) to learn more.
- Do I need to soak and dehydrate oats? Not required but recommended. Click (here) to see why.
- Why do I start the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F). Click (here) to learn the reason behind this.
- When working with fresh ingredients it is important to taste test as you build a recipe. Learn why (here).
One of the greatest joys when creating raw food recipes is experimenting with different ingredients… a practice that I highly encourage. Daily I get questions regarding substitutions. Of course we all might have different dietary needs and tastes which could necessitate altering a recipe. I love to share with you what I create for myself, my husband, friends and family. I spend a lot of time selecting the right ingredients with a particular goal in mind, looking to build a certain flavor and texture.
So as you experiment with substitutions, remember they are what they sound like, they are substitutes for the preferred item. Generally they are not going to behave, taste, or have the same texture as the suggested ingredient. Some may work, and others may not and I can’t promise what the results will be unless I’ve tried them myself. So have fun, don’t be afraid, and remember, substituting is how I discovered many of my unique dishes.