Pirate Kitchen

Bird Bars

Bird Bars

Bird Bars

I saw a hummingbird this morning. The hummingbirds are back which of course made me think of Bird Bars. Let me explain. A few years ago, I tasted a KIND Almond & Apricot bar and was transported.  It was everything I wanted in a snack:  lightly sweet, chewy fruit and nutty crunch. It tasted exactly like the almonds, apricots, honey and coconut in its grand total of only 8 ingredients. My first thought was, “I can make this”! And I was off on my next recipe quest.

I didn’t set out to make something healthy, but as I scoured the internet for bar-type recipes, I started to see that the energy/healthy bar path was the one I needed to take. The final recipe is a combination of two recipes I found on the internet. I set out to replicate the flavor and not only did I, but in a healthy, organic, and whole grain way. Wow, check me out!

My friend Amy exclaimed, “ooohh, they look like bird bars“!  I can only assume she meant something like the bird seed cakes intended to feed well, um… birds. I don’t think they look like that, but the name stuck and the rest is history. I’ve used apricot preserves (to enhance the apricot flavor), organic crispy brown rice cereal and organic brown rice syrup, but plain old crispy rice cereal and honey can actually be substituted. Both the syrup and cereal can be found in most supermarkets in sections wherever organic and/or gluten free items are sold. If not there, a health food store or co-op is sure to have them.  Since I’m all about the quest, it was fun for me to check out the nearest health food store (Natural Health in Blackwood, NJ) in my new home state. In case you’re wondering, brown rice syrup tastes like a sweet, mild and much lighter version of molasses.  Hmmmm, not bad. Ok, that’s enough now will someone please pass the butter?…

Bird Bars
Feel free to substitute other types of nuts, dried fruit, seeds or whatever!
Makes 12-14 bars (based on using a 9×13 inch baking pan).

Ingredients

  • 1 cup coconut flakes or chips
  • 2 cups almonds, rough chopped
  • 1 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups crispy brown rice cereal
  • 1 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 cup apricot preserves
  • pinch of fine grain sea salt or whatever salt you have on hand

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a baking pan with cooking spray.  If you like thick bars, use an 8×8 inch pan; for thinner bars, use a 9×13 inch pan.

On a rimmed baking sheet, toast the almonds and coconut for about 5-7 minutes , or until the coconut is golden. Give them a good turn with a spatula about half way through baking. Mix the toasted nuts, coconut, cereal and apricots in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine the rice syrup, apricot preserves and pinch of salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until it comes to a boil, about 4 minutes. Let cool slightly and pour over the mixture in the bowl. Stir until it is evenly incorporated.

Sread into the prepared pan with a spatula and refrigerate for about 20 minutes before cutting into bars.  Wrap individually in wax or plastic wrap for easier handling and transport!

Note:  this mixture is meant to be on the softer, sticky side not dry and crispy.  After cutting and wrapping the bars, I usually store them in the fridge. Try coating in ground nuts or sesame seeds for less sticky fingers.

Credits: Inspired by KIND Bars, Alton Brown and the Big Sur Powerbar recipe from 101 Cookbooks

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  1. Mitzie
    July 5, 2010

    Thanks for sharing these recipes – I’m going to give this one a try. PS: When I work with sticky dough, I find it’s helpful to have a bowl of water nearby to dip my fingers in. Keeps me from sticking to what I’m making (at least it works with biscotti batter.)

    • Kristen
      July 7, 2010

      Thanks Mitzie! It’s a bit like working with Rice Krispy treats. Would love to hear if you like the recipe and if you didn’t mind either licking your sticky fingers or if you rolled them in something. Let me know!

  2. Diane
    June 29, 2010

    There must be a way to make these a little less sticky on the fingers. I thought rolling them in wheat germ mixed with cinnamon might work…but it might not. 10X sugar? A dusting of whole wheat flour?

    Does anyone have any tips on what to coat things like this with so they handle “drier”? If not, ok…I can lick my fingers with the best of them!

    • Kristen
      June 29, 2010

      That’s a great idea and the cinnamon will enhance the flavor of the other ingredients. I’m also thinking of maybe ground almonds or sesame seeds. Thanks so much for the helpful tip!