hiking bars

baking with kids: hiking bars
baking with kids: hiking bars

I believe that food can connect the intangible with the tangible for a child.  Experiences, memories, and traditions become illuminated when we enjoy something familiar on our taste buds and, within seconds, feelings and emotions can be recalled.

I love encouraging this relationship between food and experiences with my children.

baking with kids: hiking bars
baking with kids: hiking bars

{Personalizing our sunflower stem "sticks" to become walking sticks}

Our new exploration with nature is hiking.  Exploring the Appalachian Trail to be exact.  This has been the most recent experience in connecting food with experience to enhance our hopeful tradition.

Baking with Kids tip:

  • Align your quality time in the kitchen baking with your children with a new adventure, exploration, or tradition.  The process of baking and its outcome make the event that much more meaningful and memorable.  Plus you can correlate the baked good with the specific activity.  A high energy activity (family soccer game, family bike ride, a child's baseball game) calls for an energy boosting food, a road trip calls for easy transport, minimum crumbing, and individual packaging, and so forth.

There are many granola bars out there.  I like using prunes and dates pureed as a base to create a natural and sweet bars.  Our Hiking Bar is filling, sweet enough from the chocolate chips for the kiddos, and can be made in literally 5 minutes before sent into the oven.  Truly a perfect bar for spontaneous nature explorations and family activity.

(Adapted from SugarCrafter's Peanut Butter Granola Bars

hiking bars

Makes 10 full size bars

  • 1 cup dried prunes
  • 1 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup almond butter or sunbutter if nut free
  • 2 cups rolled oats (gluten free) or equal amount of nuts/seeds
  • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/2 -3/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
  • butter

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Lets kids help prepare the measured ingredients ahead of time since you'll be controlling the food processor.  (They'll enjoy watching the ingredients come together in the processor.)

In a food processor, pulse the prunes and dates until pureed.  Add the water and almond butter and puree. Add the oats or nuts/seeds and pulse until the mixture comes together as one large clump.

Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.

baking with kids: hiking bars
baking with kids: hiking bars

Pour your mixture into your prepared pan.  With buttered fingertips, kids can help firmly press the mixture into the pan.

baking with kids: hiking bars
baking with kids: hiking bars

With your little helpers, sprinkle coconut over the mixture.  Gently press coconut onto the top of the mixture.

baking with kids: hiking bars
baking with kids: hiking bars

Bake for 25 minutes.  The coconut should be perfectly toasted within this time.  Let the bars cool for a few minutes within the pan.

baking with kids: hiking bars
baking with kids: hiking bars

Carefully transfer the bars, via parchment paper, onto a cooling rack.  Let completely cool before cutting.

baking with kids: hiking bars
baking with kids: hiking bars

Bag up your hiking bars individually and store them in your pantry if you're not using them right away.   Now you can grab and go!

My girls really enjoy these bars and really enjoy them when we're out on a trail.   They've helped make them and love the thrill of stopping along the trail to boost their energy.

What is a hike (insert other activity here) without a special, specific treat to enjoy??

baking with kids: hiking bars
baking with kids: hiking bars

Tomorrow:  Our adventure in hiking with kids!

Baking with Kids series:

Baking with Kids: Soft Pretzels