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Sunday was closing day for Winter Park/Mary Jane Ski Area. I posted season-ending party pictures on my Facebook page, but now that the snow is slowly melting, the focus has shifted from skiing to mountain biking. The Winter Park crew will soon be working on single track trail expansion and the construction of Trestle Bike Park. Plus, there’s climbing, hiking and backpacking. I love Colorado, no season left behind!

Okay, so what does that have to do with a food and nutrition blog, you ask?

Time for homemade power bars!

backcountry power bars
what you need

1 cup pecans
1 cup almonds
1 cup chopped dried apricots, unsulphured (I used organic Turkish apricots)
1/2 cup (2.5 ounces) dark chocolate, coarsely chopped, 55% cocoa content or higher
1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 cup Pamela’s GF Baking Mix
2 tablespoons ground chia seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup pure maple syrup (I like organic, grade B)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

what you do
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Spread the pecans and almonds in a single layer on the prepared cookie sheet and roast for 6 to 10 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly browned. They burn easily, so watch them and stir once or twice if needed. Let cool.
2. Place flour, ground chia seeds, cinnamon and salt in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add nuts and pulse until they are coarsely chopped and well blended with the other ingredients.
3. Add oats, apricots and dark chocolate and pulse several times so everything is mixed together.
4. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, maple syrup and vanilla. Make sure these ingredients are well blended. Add the nut and fruit mixture to the bowl. Using a fork, mash and mix them all together, breaking apart clumps of dried fruit and chocolate.
5. Spread the mixture over parchment paper onto the cookie sheet. Either flatten the mixture with your hands or place another sheet of parchment paper on top and roll out into a flat sheet, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and bake on center rack of oven for 24 to 28 minutes until nicely browned. Don’t over-bake them. Cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars. Store in the refrigerator. Makes about 2 dozen bars.

Happy trails!

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11 Responses to “gluten-free backcountry power bars”

  1. Ooooohhhh yum. These look SO delicious. I am going to make these very soon. Perhaps this weekend. I have to say the addition of maple syrup never crossed my mind for a power bar. But, it’s genius. Thank you for this inspiring recipe.
    Hoping your having an awesome spring.Nothing like springtime in the Rockies!

  2. Alta says:

    These sound way better than real Powerbars. Yum!

  3. Now you have me drooling!!!! This goes onto the weekend baking list for sure!

  4. Cid says:


    These look like a great idea for energy bars. People on the go with no time for breakfast might benefit as well as kids in need of a nutritional boost. Could be another winner for our Kitchen enterprise.

    Of course I could munch them all day but that’s probably not a good idea…. moderation in all things ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Oh, my word, Melissa!! I’m making these with dates instead of apricots (one of those things I still have to learn to like). I want to do something strenuous just so I deserve to eat one!!!


  6. Melissa says:

    Stephanie — these really are good. And I love using pure, organic maple syrup as my sweetener and find it works well in most recipes. Grade B seems to work best. These “power bars” can be tweaked in so many different ways!

  7. Melissa says:

    Alta — “real” power bars are more for serious endurance food. These little treats are half and half (half “cookie” and half “power” food). ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Melissa says:

    Diane and Kelly — “Yum” is right! These are addicting, so be careful.

  9. Melissa says:

    Cid — you’re so right about munching on these all day. I find myself sitting at my desk and thinking I need an energy bar, so I do find myself heading to the kitchen more often than I need to. It’s not like I’m expending a lot of energy at my computer. At least not physical energy. You used the key word in your comment. MODERATION. Sometimes that’s a hard one to apply when macaroons, “energy” bars or other assorted treats are calling your name.


  10. Melissa says:

    Shirley — you can mix and match ingredients in these little bars in a zillion ways. Mejool dates are perfect. Or dried cherries, that’s another good one. The possibilities are endless!


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