Recently, my daughter, Amy, trained for and completed a cross country ski race over a frozen lake in Wisconsin, facing brutal wild winds and slippery hills. She traversed 50K while I watched her race on my computer in sunny California! Yes, I did feel guilty that she was out in the cold but this was an important race for her and the culmination of months of hard work. BRAVO!

When I asked her how she could compete under these conditions for several hours, she had lots of information for me. One of her methods of endurance is her recipe for granola bars which she makes in her kitchen using her scientific skills.

Remember, cooking is a science; the right ingredients in the proper proportions yield a positive result. Bon Appetit!

Amy’s Race Worthy Granola Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup regular rolled oats

1/3 cup oat bran

3 tablespoons sesame seeds

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped roasted salted cashews

1/2 finely chopped dried Mission figs

1/4 cup chopped dried cherries

1/4 cup dried blueberries or goji berries

3/4 cup peanut butter

1/4 cup low-fat milk

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1 large egg

1/2 cup honey

Finely shredded zest from 1 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Preparation

1. Line a 9-by 13-in. pan with plastic wrap, leaving an overhang on the 9-inch sides, and coat with cooking-oil spray. In a large bowl, stir together oats, oat bran, flour, baking powder, salt, cashews, figs, cherries, berries, and chocolate chips until well blended.

2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together peanut butter, milk, egg, honey, lemon zest, and lemon juice until well blended.

3. Add flour mixture to cashew butter mixture and beat until completely blended. Scrape dough into pan and, with wet fingers or a rubber spatula, pat to fill pan completely and evenly (dough is sticky, so you may need to wash your hands a few times). Sprinkle with sesame seeds. Chill dough until firm, about 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°. Invert pan onto a work surface, lift off pan, and peel off plastic. Using a bench scraper or knife, cut straight down lengthwise through middle, then crosswise to make 16 bars, each 1 1/2 inch wide. Place bars about 1 inch apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

5. Bake bars until lightly browned and somewhat firm to touch, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Make ahead: Store airtight up to two weeks or freeze.


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