May 2nd, 2014
Paloma and I are leaving for Russia today, and here is one of the snacks I will be bringing for the long flight. Lately, when flying alone over big distances, I’ve been a fan of giving my stomach a break, just drinking lots of water and munching on some carrots and sliced cucumbers. Airplane meals have always given me a stomachache, and I try to stay away. But having a five year old with me is a much different story. I know that Paloma will require a variety of foods to keep satisfied. For snacks, I decided on carrots, apples, local blueberries (the season is here!), kale chips and these sprouted sunflower seed bars.
Over the years, I’ve become a sprouting fanatic. Knowing how many benefits sprouting or soaking awakens in seeds, nuts, and legumes, I can never bypass the easy and fun process. Recently, I got my hands on unhulled black sesame seeds and was very excited to see how easily they sprouted! As I make most of my nut and seed butters at home, I rarely look at that section in stores. But being so crazy busy with preparing for the trip and the release of the cookbook, I decided to buy sesame tahini instead of making it. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of sprouted everything on the shelves! Even things like Sprouted Pumpkin Seed Butter and Sprouted Chia Seeds – made me happy.
These bars are fantastic to have at home or take on a road with you. You can also eat them broken up with yogurt or any milk of your preference as a sort of granola for breakfast. You don’t have to sprout the sunflower seeds for this recipe, however the process boosts nutrients, improves the taste and eases digestion if you start with good quality, raw sunflower seeds. I usually buy mine in bulk sections of local health food stores with a good rotation or online (nutsonline.com has superb quality products).
In other news, we’ve been working on a cookbook trailer (coming soon!), and Cathryn Fowler, who is shooting it, took the photos for this post.
Farewell! I’ll try to keep Instagram updated with some travel snaps.
Sprouted Sunflower Seed Cocoa Bars
Note: Sometimes make these bars using sunflower seeds only (no buckwheat), or use a mixture of different seeds – sunflower, pumpkin, black and tan sesame, chia, flax and poppy seeds. You can totally experiment with your own favorite combination, just keep the dry to wet ratio according to the recipe.
3 cups dried sprouted sunflower seeds (or just raw sunflower seeds)
3/4 cup cocoa nibs
1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats - soaked in water for a minimum of 1 hour, rinsed and dried completely, or quinoa puffs
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup mini dark chocolate chips (I use vegan Enjoy Life) – optional
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
6 tablespoons coconut oil
large pinch of sea salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract – optional
1) To sprout the sunflower seeds, soak them in purified water overnight. Rinse and keep covered with a wet kitchen towel for 12-24 hours, until sprouts become visible, rinsing every 8 hours or so. It’s important not to overgrow the sprouts.
2) After sprouting, dry the sunflower seeds. If you have a dehydrator, place them on a mesh screen covered tray and dry at 115F for 8-12 hours. Or simply spread them on dry and clean kitchen towels or several layers of paper towels and leave to dry completely. In the latter case, don’t wait until sprouts become too apparent before drying, as they will most likely continue growing during the drying period. Changing the towels to dry ones will help speed up the process.
3) Mix all the ingredients thoroughly in a large mixing bowl. Preheat oven to 260 F (130 C). Spread the mixture on a parchment paper covered large baking tray into an even thickness. Score/cut into bars by pressing a knife into the mixture rather then dragging it through. Bake for 1 hour. Let cool completely and break into bars.
I like to keep the bars refrigerated for extra crunch.