Energy Bars Made with Biscoff Cookie Spread
For a year in college, I had a roommate from Hawaii. She was impressionable in that she was truly the only one in our town house at the time that could actually cook something other than fried rice, curry or spaghetti.
It’s been over, uh let’s just say, at least a decade, since I learned how to make two of her dishes but I still make them. The first is corn chowder, which I modified slightly by substituting portuguese sausage with chicken, this recipe can be found on my blog here. The second dish is this energy bar, albeit modified.
I actually lost my ex-roomie’s energy bar recipe and have since lost touch with her, but luckily I have a friend in Hawaii who shared a very similar energy bar recipe which I adapted to suit my taste, as well as to accommodate Bebe’s peanut allergy.
Bebe E is allergic to peanuts but fortunately her sensitivity is not as high as it could potentially be. Her pediatrician’s son also has a peanut allergy so our doctor has been a good sounding board as far as how careful we need to be. So far, she’s OK with products “processed in a facility that also processes tree nuts or peanuts”, but we have to be careful that no products she consumes “contains” peanuts. Other children completely avoid any products that might contain remote trace amounts of peanuts from products “processed in a facility that also processes tree nuts or peanuts”, and these might include any form of candy, chocolates, ice cream, processed cookies, you name it. I know, it’s really a fine line, isn’t it?
Fortunately, Bebe’s peanut allergy isn’t so severe that we don’t need to request that her pediatric dentists and hygienists refrain from eating any peanut products the night before her appointment. YES, I was indeed asked if this was a necessary precaution upon first sharing with Bebe’s dentists about her peanut allergy. Apparently they treat a patient whose allergy is sadly this severe. In this regard, we are somewhat fortunate in our “peanut allergy” lottery card.
Whenever the opportunity presents itself, we try to instill in Bebe that she is not to accept any homemade treats from any friends because we don’t know whether a food contains peanuts or not. She’s at the age where she understands that she is allergic to peanuts and she cannot eat them or else she will get very sick. Sometimes she asks me if a food has peanuts or not and whether she can eat it, which is great because she’s learning. She’s had two incidences where we can only guess that she likely ingested peanuts or peanut butter in a restaurant dish or pre-packaged food and her upper lip swelled. (I know, scary to think what could happen if her tongue swelled, right?) Fortunately, on both occasions a dose of children’s Benadryl quickly reversed her swelling, but if you ever experience anything similar, our pediatrician has advised us that Benadryl, an EPI shot, and a quick trip to the doctor’s office or emergency room are always good precautions to take, even with a positive response to something as simple as Benadryl. As parents, my husband and I can’t help but be concerned.
My Energy Bar Substitutions
Although it lacks protein, fortunately for us, cookie spread is a decent substitute for peanut butter. I was first introduced to Biscoff cookie spread when my 5k cronies and I received free samples of the sinful spread at the runner’s convention prior to participating in the Hot Chocolate Run in San Diego (read more about that in the following post link). It can be found at most supermarket as well as specialty stores.
The original energy bar recipe called for peanuts, which I personally don’t like much, and I replaced these with almonds, which I love, and Bebe can eat. Although we don’t feed Bebe tree nuts often, she seems to tolerate tree nuts such as almonds, chestnuts etc., but these are not to be confused with peanuts which don’t grow on trees, but instead are legumes. (Note, studies indicate that a mold associated with the peanut legume could potentially be an allergen.) Substituting almonds for peanuts definitely gave an old energy bar recipe a boost for the better.
In addition, I added wheat germ (for its health benefits), and in lieu of traditional raisins, I used golden plump raisins, again a personal preference. It turns out that the substitutions I made created a new energy bar that we quite enjoyed.
My one caveat for this recipe is that the cookie spread is sweet, whereas the peanut butter is mildly sweet AND savory. I would actually enjoy the flavor of the peanut butter in an energy bar, but you might want to consider adding less cookie spread than the recipe calls for to avoid the problem of ending up with an energy bar that is TOO sweet.
Finally, I learned from my Hawaiian ex-roomie that the energy bars may be wrapped up with wax paper (I prefer parchment paper) into individually wrapped treats, making them perfect for carrying around without worrying about a sticky mess. It also makes for a cute gift when wrapped in this way.
My Little Helper
Bebe E, ever my little helper, regularly wants to assist me when I’m taking photos of food, and this day was no different. She asked if she could spread out the wrapped energy bars, and she did a fantastic job creating height and spacing out the bars. (Note, I created the tower of squares in the background). I often catch photos of her hand or fingers as she usually sits right next to the food and “fixes” things she deems necessary. I often need to ask her not to touch anything so that every shot is not like the one you see below and I rarely share these “little hand invasion” photos, but today is different.
These days, I notice more often how quickly she’s growing, and my feelings are bittersweet. I’m happy and thankful for her health and happy disposition, but I can’t help but want her to stay little for a bit longer, and to not grow so fast. She often still grabs hold of my fingers when we’re walking and recently my first thought is that she won’t always want to hold my hand, and so I hold on really tight, and cherish her little fingers and cute soft hand in my own.
*The opinions related to allergies are my own and not to be substituted as sound medical advice from a professional. For medical advice on allergies, please seek expertise from your professional medical doctor.
Finally, The Recipe
- 2 cups Quick-Cooking One Minute Oats
- 2½ cups rice crispies cereal
- 2 tablespoons wheat germ
- ¼ cup butter
- ½ cup Biscoff Cookie Spread (or other cookie spread)
- 1 10-ounce package of marshmallows
- 1 cup golden raisins
- 1 cup rough chopped salted almonds
- 1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds, for garnish (optional)
- Cooking oil spray
- Spray a 9 x 13 glass pan with cooking oil. Set aside.
- Combine oats, rice crispies and wheat germ in a large bowl. Set aside.
- On low heat, melt butter, marshmallows and cookie spread in a very large saucepan and cook until smooth. Turn off heat.
- Add dry ingredients (oats, rice crispies, wheat germ, almonds and raisins) to the melted mixture and mix quickly.
- Immediately transfer mixture to the greased 9 x 13 pan. Gently press the mixture into the pan.
- Sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the mixture and gently press into the bars.
- Allow the energy bars to cool completely.
- Cut the bars into preferred size. Wrap individually with parchment paper, or store the bars in the pan with an airtight lid.