I finally cooked a treat for the dogs….kind of. While these homemade energy bars are safe for dogs to eat, I initially made them more for me to eat.
These energy bars, or trail mix bars, are called Hike and Hound Energy Bars. The recipe was created by our friends over at NewfandHound from a few vegan recipes they found online.
One note: most homemade energy bar recipes out there contain chocolate, which is toxic to dogs, but these do not. I suppose you could use the chocolate recipes and substitute carob chips but I remember my Mom making me eat carob when I was a kid and, personally, I think carob kind of sucks.
I am not big on cooking but these were surprisingly fast to make. I think it only took me 10 minutes to mix the ingredients together.
Lessons Learned During My First Attempt
I modified the recipe a little to suit my tastes and what I had on hand:
- I didn’t include the lemon zest because I didn’t have any
- I mixed in 2 Tbs of chia seeds
- I didn’t have any vanilla bean so I added 1/4 tsp vanilla extract instead.
After I baked and tasted my first batch, here were the things that I noted:
- I bought the dried blueberries and apricots at my local health food store. They were organic and preservative-free. I am all for nutritious hippie food when possible but these sucked. They were really dried out – not moist like the preservative-filled Sunmaid type ones. They weren’t as tangy as the moister ones usually are. I do have to say that they softened up nicely after being baked but I think I will try the standard versions next time
- The vanilla extract (instead of vanilla bean) worked out just fine. The taste was really subtle so I might try adding a little more next time.
- Because I like a tangier taste, I will definitely add the lemon zest next time….once I can figure out how to actually zest one without a zester 🙂
- I didn’t notice the chia seeds and they did not mess up the ratio of the mixture. I will probably add twice as many next time….because who doesn’t need more fiber in their diet?
- The recipe said to heat the peanut butter in a small pot (and the banana, which I did not do). I am too lazy so I heated the peanut butter in the microwave. The world did not end.
- I used a knife instead of a pizza cutter to cut them into small pieces. The world also did not end then.
I will warn that these treats are yummy but not low calorie. It’s probably a good idea to keep them in the freezer and not eat them unless you are actually hiking.
I spread the mixture into a 2.2 Quart (2 Liter) casserole dish. After they baked, I cut them into 24 little pieces. According to my calculations, with my modified recipe, each square was 120 calories.
I am going to try the recipe again and may try to reduce the calories they contain.
Recipe for Hike and Hound Trail Bars
Makes approximately 16-24 small square bars (depending on the size baking dish used and how thin you spread them out).
- 2 large very ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter, unsweetened
- 1/4 cup chopped or sliced almonds, raw or toasted and unsalted
- 1 cup dried apricots, no added sugar
- 1 cup dried blueberries, no added sugar
- 1 1/2 cup rolled oats, uncooked
- 2-4 Tbs Chia Seeds
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract (or more to taste)
other ingredient ideas:
- Unsweetened coconut flakes
- Carob chips
- Substitute almond butter for the peanut butter
- Dried strawberries
- Dried apples
- Dried mango
- Dried pineapple
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Line a square 2(ish) quart baking pan. Line it with parchment paper, or grease it with a light coating of olive or coconut oil, so the bars don’t stick.
- In a food processor, puree the bananas until smooth. Set aside.
- Microwave the peanut butter for 15-30 seconds until completely melted.
- Chop the raw almonds and apricots into small, pea-sized pieces.
- In a large bowl, add the almonds, dried fruits, and rolled oats. Add in the mashed bananas, melted peanut butter, and vanilla extract. Mix everything together until it becomes a uniform batter (If the batter is too wet, you can add a little more oats. If it is too dry, you can add a bit more banana or peanut butter).
- Transfer the mixture to the baking dish and use a spatula or spoon to flatten and spread the mixture evenly in the pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Let cool completely before cutting into squares using a knife or pizza cutter.
These dog friendly trail bars are a great snack to bring when you are hiking with your dog because they do double duty.