Chocolate, Cherry and Black Bean Energy Bars
We love backpacking in the summer and it’s probably our favourite thing to do. I instantly feel a difference when I’m out in the mountains as far away from the business of the city and technology, as possible. The fresh mountain air soothes me right to my soul and I sleep like a baby out there, even though I’m in a sleeping bag on a thin Thermorest mattress. My favourite trail so far is the Berg Lake trail at Mount Robson in British Columbia, Canada. The views never cease to take my breath away and I’ve done the trip 5 times know.
This was the second time Nelson and I did this trail together and our first time getting up to Snowbird Pass. Snowbird pass is beyond the last campsite we usually stay at, located right at Berg Lake. The campground is right across from Berg glacier so you can hear and see chunks of it breaking off into the lake. It was really active this time around and one night it sounded like thunder it was so loud!
We actually had to get up out of bed and go sit by the lake to watch it. It’s quite the amazing site to see. Hargreaves shelter is located at this campground and is a great place to cook when its cool out, but lucky for us we had hot weather this time! Snowbird pass is a 21km day hike and a gruelling climb, but so worth the beautiful views, and sore quads the next day.
We don’t like to buy the standard backpacking meals as they’re loaded with artificial ingredients, preservatives, soy, gluten and rancid oils. I’ve got my sights set on an Excalibur dehydrator so we can dehydrate our own meals but for now we buy dried bean soups from the local health food store as well as canned salmon and mussels. I make a big batch of trail mix using raw, organic nuts and seeds, some dried fruit, coconut flakes and Camino dark chocolate chips. I also pack some raw veggies like carrots, peppers, fennel and baby cucumbers and these stood up well to the heat and helped keep us hydrated. I usually bring apples, gluten free bagels/pitas and Sunbutter, which is sunflower seed butter. We get some jerky and maybe pepperoni from the local butcher as well.
I also like to make my own energy bars and for this trip I came up with a Chocolate, Cherry and Black Bean energy bar that is reminiscent of black forest cake. These are high in fiber, healthy fats and even some magnesium from the cacao powder. We enjoyed that these had a moist texture and weren’t dry at all. The heat we had on this trip was dehydrating enough as it was and eating something dry wouldn’t have been as satisfying. This bar is pretty versatile and you can try changing out the pistachios for another type of nut or seed and the dried cherries for another type of dried fruit. You can also substitute the Maple Syrup for raw honey if you wanted. These bars are sweet with a tang from the cherries and crunch from the chia seeds.
- 1 can (1 1/2 c) Black beans
- 1/4 c Chia seeds
- 1/2 c Water
- 1/4 c Maple syrup
- 1/4 c Dates
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract
- 1 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Sea salt
- 1/4 c + 2 tbsp Coconut flour
- 1 heaping cup Coconut flakes
- 1/2 c Cacao powder
- 1 c Dried cherries
- 1/2 c Pistachios
- In a small bowl add the chia seeds and water and let sit so the chia seeds can absorb the water and form a gel. Stir occasionally.
- Get a baking sheet ready with parchment paper. You can alternatively grease it with some coconut oil, but I find parchment paper works best as you can lift the whole thing out and then cut into bars.
- In a food processor, add the beans, chia seeds, honey, dates, vanilla extract, cinnamon and sea salt. Process until combined evenly and smooth.
- Add the coconut flour and cacao powder mix to combine.
- Add the coconut flakes, dried cherries and pistachios. Pulse just to combine.
- Spread the mixture out on the baking sheet. A 9×9 pan would probably work great but I used a 13×9 baking sheet and it didn’t fill the whole sheet, so start at one end. Bake in 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.
- Once done lift out of the baking sheet using the parchment paper and let cool on a baking rack. Cut into bars and store in the fridge.