Sweet Potato Buckwheat Snack Bars with Cardamom

February 25th, 2014

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Granola bars have always presented somewhat of a challenge to me. I haven’t been able to find a wholesome store-bought granola bar that doesn’t taste like cardboard or isn’t too sweet. Have you? I’ve also had a hard time coming up with a good granola bar recipe myself, they often come out bland and overall boring. Still, I have been determined to have one delicious granola bar in my repertoire and these Sweet Potato Buckwheat Bars with cardamom have got to be it.
I can talk about my love for cardamom for hours – in my opinion, almost anything can benefit from its flavor. No wonder that it is one of the most expensive spices in the world, its taste is absolutely heavenly. A little cardamom goes a long way though – those little green pods are like little ticking bombs of flavour. I just learned about the existence of smoked cardamom, from here, and will surely include it the next time I make these bars.

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The preparation here is quite simple – a few scoopfuls of very nutritious grains, nuts and seeds mixed with a kind of sweet potato ‘caramel.’  The bars are not only incredibly tasty but also densely nutritious and filling. Also, they are very flexible in preparation. My older daughter, Masha, who takes most of the photos for Golubka and lives in NYC, treats my recipes as any recent college grad would – simplifying them and using only the ingredients that fit a tight budget. She made these bars without cardamom, brown rice syrup and no nuts – just sunflower and pumpkin seeds, which are cheaper, all to very good results. She also tried baking them and loved what she ended up with. As variations, you can add cocoa nibs, dried coconut, dried fruit, hemp hearts, maca powder, sesame seeds, toasted rolled oats or quinoa flakes, different grain puffs, chia or flax seeds, and various nut butters. Just make sure to keep the dry to wet ratio the same.

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I talked about my love for winter Olympics in the last post, and it has been an incredible two weeks. Having these bars on hand (I made a double batch!) for the whole family to snack on and to include in Paloma’s lunchbox has been helpful, as my attention has been guided away from my kitchen and straight into Sochi.

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Sweet Potato Buckwheat Snack Bars with Cardamom

1 1/2 cups raw buckwheat groats – soaked in water for a minimum of 1 hour, rinsed and dried completely, or quinoa puffs
1 small or 1/2 large sweet potato
1 heaping cup assorted nuts/seeds (I used 1/2 cup hazelnuts, 1/4 cup each almonds and pecans)
1/2 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or a mixture of both
4 cardamom pods ground in a mortar and pestle
1/2 cup sesame tahini
1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons honey
pinch sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C). Prick sweet potato skin with a fork several times and bake for about 40 minutes or until soft throughout. Cool, peel and mash with a fork.
2. Lower the oven temperature to 350 F (180 C). Place nuts on a baking tray and toast for 10 minutes. Transfer onto a kitchen towel and remove the skins. Then toast your seeds for 5 minutes.
3. Add nuts to a food processor and pulse until broken into small to medium pieces. Combine the nuts, seeds and buckwheat groats in a large mixing bowl.
4. In a small saucepan, warm the brown rice syrup with honey, tahini and almond butter, mixing until well combined. Add in the sweet potato mash, salt and cardamom. Combine into a caramel like homogenous sauce. Pour it over the granola mixture and mix well.
5. Cover a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper, extending it to the sides of the dish. Scoop the mixture into the dish, pressing it inside in a compact and even layer. Place into a freezer for about 30 minutes or until firm.
6. Remove from the baking dish and cut into bars. Keep refrigerated or even in the freezer – the bars will never be completely frozen, just perfectly chewy and crunchy at the same time.

Tags: breakfast, cardamom, snack, sweet potato

  • These look and sound crazy good Anya! I adore cardamom too :-) xx

  • Annie says:

    LOVE IT! These looks so delicious, and I can’t wait to make them!

    I have pre-ground cardamom, and not cardamom pods. Any idea how many tsps I should use?

    Thank you! Your creativity amazes me!

    • Anya says:

      Thanks Annie! As far as the amount of ground cardamom, it’s really up to your taste preference. One thing to keep in mind is that pre-ground cardamom is usually not as strong as whole seeds. I haven’t cook with it in years, so it’s hard for me to estimate.

  • Lane Hansen says:

    These look heavenly! I’m completely in love with sweet potatoes, buckwheat and cardamom so I’m definitely going to be making these sometime soon… probably tomorrow! :) My mouth is already watering just looking at the photos!

  • These bars look stunning! I love all the fun flavours in there :)

  • These look great! I make some that are similar. I’m excited to try them your way! Yum!

  • Emma says:

    These are gorgeous! Love the ingredients list, especially the sweet potato and cardamom. I’ve been using cardamom a lot lately, in both sweet and savoury dishes. Adding these to the “must-try” list :)

  • Irina says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I have an undying love for buckwheat, likely due to my Russian roots (kasha and raw groats are both so delicious!), and love to cook/bake with it.

  • Saving this recipe to make it ASAP! Looks great!

  • These look so delicious! I must make them…

  • I agree – store bought bars just don’t cut the mustard. These look amazing!

  • Anya, I love the array of ingredients you use here. I would never have thought to use sweet potato in a snack bar! And I totally love buckwheat groats and puffed quinoa – this recipe is a total winner!

    • Anya says:

      Thank you so much Lindsey! Sweet potato is such a versatile veggie, works more often than not in al sorts of goods.

  • cheri says:

    sweet potato in a snack bar makes sense because of the sweetness although I never would of thought of this combination. I just love this.

  • Laura says:

    I absolutely love cardamom and it kills me that no one else in my family is into it. I love that your binder is a caramel-like mix based with sweet potatoes–so, SO creative. xo

    • Anya says:

      Thank you so much Laura! Speaking of creativity, I enjoyed your latest coconut-vanilla whipped mousse, so delicious!

  • Aleksandra says:

    I confess I have had to make pretty much all of your posted recipes lately and I now have a batch of your granola bars in the freezer ready to go. I adore sweet potatoes and cardomom as well. My Mom is visiting me tomorrow and can’t wait to share some of these lovely bars with her. So excited about your next post. You really inspire me! Thanks a lot!!!

  • […] And if you’re looking for something sweet, but just a little more crunchy, you can check out Golubka’s fantastic sweet potato buckwheat snack bars. […]

  • hannah says:

    These bars definitely need eating straight out the freezer! I was using a fork after having them out for 10 minutes. Too much potato? Totally delicious, love the use of cardamom!

  • dana says:

    They look delicious and I want to try them out. Thank you! However my man is allergic to nuts, how would you substitute the almond butter?

  • Must try the combination of sweet potatoes and cardamom!

  • Sophia says:

    I love love love cardamom too and so agree about the challenge of either finding a good store-bought granola bar or coming up with your own. These look wonderful and I love the addition of the sweet potato.

    Have you heard about black cardamom? My mum recently introduced me to it. Really intriguing flavour, spicier than green cardamom and slightly resinous. Really nice with dried fruit like prunes (if you ever need a winter version of your granola bars).

  • Cosette says:

    These bars were super yummy and filling! Loved the addition of cardamom, super delish. They were very melty though unless they were frozen.

  • Jacqueline says:

    I just made this for all my friends and roommates and everyone is in love! Always trying to find healthy but tasty recipes to keep my friends well fed and full of energy all year round, but especially during exams. I actually am in desperate need of some healthy recipes like this to send to my boyfriend deployed in afghanistan. I need something good for his body that will hold up the week or so trip to him and still last a week or so for him to eat. Do you think these bars would hold up? And do you have any other suggestions of recipes that would?

    Sorry for such a long post!

    • Anya says:

      Jacqueline, I’m so glad that your friends love the bars! You can try to bake them for your boyfriend, at 375F for 20-30 minutes, my daughter did that with success. That way they’ll hold much better. I usually dehydrate snacks if I want to ship them somewhere, but you need a dehydrator to do that. These flatbreads http://golubkakitchen.com/2012/08/tile-flatbreads.html (without veggie toppings) should hold well as well.

      • Jacqueline says:

        Thank you so much Anya I’m going to make him both batches tonight! I’ve actually looked into a dehydrator because I want to send things to my parents as well. Anything to keep my loved ones staying good and true to their bodies. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  • Natalia says:

    spasibo bolshoe za rezept. daje mne, ne bolshoi lubitelnize takix sladostej, OCHEN’ ponravilos!!!

  • ballers blog says:

    […] Sweet Potato Buckwheat Snack Bars with Cardamom […]

  • […] the talented Golubka whose new book The Vibrant Table is at the top of my to-do list right […]

  • […] of you with a strong sweet tooth might be crying out for them to taste sweeter. The recipe I was inspired by used honey. I’m sure dates, dried fruit etc. would be nice in these bars and the sugar is natural […]

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