Bunny Bars for Easterkathypatalsky
This Easter, feed your little bunnies these Bunny Bars. Carrot-shaped nut/seed bars – packed with sweet flavor and loads of healthy goodness. Bunny Bars will make your bunnies (aka your kids) smile from floppy ear to floppy ear – especially with the bits of chocolate rolled into the mix. Make these bars for your bunnies or you can make them together as a fun kitchen craft activity. You can easily customize these Bunny Bars to suite what ingredients you have in your pantry or what your sweet bunnies like best…
Carrot-Shaped. You’ll need to find some carrot party goody bags – I found these from a party supply store.
Many Uses. You can eat these bunny bars right out of the carrot-shaped goodie bag – just as you would a granola bar or trail mix. Or you can crumble them up into a bowl, splash on some milk and call it cold cereal. Either way, you’ll love the healthy sweet flavors!
Quick Tip! There is a learning curve for “not burning” your homemade granola bars. Note that the bars will not solidify during the baking process – but rather as they cool and the stickiness hardens. So don’t bake your mixture until it is hard as a rock. Allow it to be quite soft when pulled from the oven. You really just want to toast the ingredients and melt – caramelize the oil/sweetener.
Bunny Bars Ingredients
Like I said, easily customizable. Here are a few optional add-ins..
dried apricot, chopped
dried date rolls
dark chocolate chunks
peanut or almond butter
crisp rice cereal
Hot Trick! Martha Stewart has a great trick for her recently featured fruit and nut granola bars. Use homemade date paste to sweeten! Soak 1 cup of dates in a bit of water (enough to cover) and saute until tender. Then drain the water and puree the dates in a food processor. Add the date paste to the bars in place of most of the sweetener – an extra dollop of honey/maple/agave is still a nice idea for flavor.
Here is the recipe that I used for my Bunny Bars. I wanted to make mine 100% seeds and nuts – no oats. But you can easily add in oats to give a more granola-bar-ish taste and texture.
My Bunny Bars (oat free)
carrot-shaped goodie bags (about 6 for this batch)
1/2 cup almonds, roasted/salted
1/2 cup hemp seeds, raw/shelled
1/2 cup peanuts, roasted
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds, raw
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup agave syrup (or honey)
2 Tbsp olive oil or canola oil
a few dashes of cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
dash of salt (only if more than half of your ingredients are unsalted)
1/2 cup cranberries/raisins (I prefer to fold the dried fruit into the mixture at the end so the fruit doesn’t get tough and hard)
note: if using different ingredients – my rule of thumb is to basically use about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of sweetener (maple/agave/honey) and 3 Tbsp oil (use a tad more oil is making a heavily oat-filled bar) for every 2 3/4 cups of dry ingredients.
1. Fold the ingredients together until well coated. (all except the dried fruit)
2. Spread the mixture in a thin layer – baking sheet or casserole dish. The thinner the bars the less cooking time required. However, since these are not “bars” but carrot-shaped rods – it really doesn’t matter how the spread looks going into the oven.
3. When bars are browned on edges – or about 20 minutes later – fold in the dried fruit – it’s OK to mix up your mixture and ruin the flat ‘bar’ effect. Leave the dried fruit bars int he oven for another 5 min then remove.
4. Before the bars begin to harden – but allow them to cool a tad so the chocolate chunks (if used) don’t melt all over the place – using a spoon, transfer the mixture into your carrot-shaped goodies bags. Twirl the bags closed – seal with a bow and store in a basket until ready to be served or presented to your bunnies. You can speed up the cooling process of these bars by placing them in the fridge – otherwise it usually take at least an hour for these bars to harden and cool.