Almond and Goji Berry Trail Treats

Makes 30 balls at about 1.5 inches in diameter or 2 inch bars

I do not usually analyze the statistics of my recipes but I calculated this one as I thought it might be helpful to compare it to a protein/energy bar that I might have instead. If you wish to boost the protein in the recipe, add about 1/3 cup of your favorite neutral flavored protein powder to the mixture along with an additional tablespoon or two of nut butter.

Serving of 2 treats - about 160 calories, 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, 15 grams of carbohydrates, and 5 grams of sugar.

1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1 cup reduced fat unsweetened shredded coconut
1/3 cup milled or ground flax seeds
1 cup unsalted almond butter, peanut butter or sunflower seed butter, preferably freshly ground
1/3 cup grade B maple syrup or raw honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup goji berries, semi sweet chocolate chips, or dried cranberries or cherries
 1/4-1/3 cup neutral flavored protein powder + 1-2 tablespoons nut butter (optional)

Combine the oats, coconut, flax seeds, almond butter, maple syrup, and sea salt in the bowl of a food processor. If you do not have a food processor, use a mixing bowl and combine by hand.

Process the ingredients for about 20-30 seconds until they come together enough to form balls that will not crumble apart. If you are combining the ingredients by hand, it may take about 5 minutes to mix the ingredients to the point that you can form a ball as the mixture is very sticky to handle.

If the mixture seems to be too dry and will not come together without crumbing apart, add a bit more nut butter or maple syrup little by little until the consistency is becomes more pliable.

Add the goji berries and pulse or mix until they are completely mixed in.

If you are rolling the mixture into balls, which is my personal preference, use a tablespoon or 1 inch cookie scoop to measure the dough. Roll and pat the mixture in your hands until the balls are firm and not crumbly. They should be about 1.5 inches in diameter. The recipe yields 30.

If you prefer to make bars, line a 8 inch baking pan with plastic wrap and press the mixture firmly and evenly into it. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes. Carefully remove the pressed dough from the tray by lifting the edges of the plastic wrap. Cut into 30 squares by slicing the block into 6 sections one direction and 5 sections perpendicularly.

Store the balls or the bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator.