January is a time for rebalancing. We spent the holidays overindulging, and now we’re doing our best to get more exercise, eat healthier and get back to an equilibrium of health.
What better place to find a little encouragement — and these very tasty, but good-for-you treats — than at Canyon Ranch Woodside? It’s the newest iteration of the wellness retreat, which has spas and resorts in Las Vegas and Tucson as well. Billed as a weekend retreat among the redwoods, the Woodside location offers serenity, pampering and local, seasonal fare created by executive chef Isabelle Jackson Nunes.
These energy bars are a signature Canyon Ranch Woodside item, perfect for a day out hiking or even just a snack. But think of this as a blueprint, rather than strict instructions.
“Recipes are great,” Nunes says, “but I always encourage people to divorce from it and follow your intuition.”
Use this as a guideline and have fun. Feel free to swap seeds, nuts or dried fruit and add other ingredients, like mini chocolate chips. Cinnamon is fun with nut butter, or you might try cardamom with tahini instead.
“Just add up the total amounts of each type of ingredient,” Nunes says, “and then use what you have in your pantry or to your preference.”
Doing these bars in a baking pan works well, but there are other options, too. “You don’t have to form bars,” Nunes says. “You could just take the mixture and form balls before the refrigerator step. It’s fun to roll the balls into other toppings, like cocoa nibs, coconut or seeds.”
These energy bars may taste indulgent, but Stephanie Miezin, director of nutrition at Canyon Ranch, says each serving of the recipe below contains 273 calories, 31 g carbohydrates, 14 g fat, 8 g protein, 41 mg sodium, 5 g dietary fiber, 6 g sugar (zero added sugar, natural sugar from dates) and 246 mg potassium.
Makes 12 bars
18 to 20 medjool dates, pitted (about 2 cups)
¾ cup gluten-free rolled oats
¼ cup slivered or chopped almonds
¼ cup chopped pistachios
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
¼ cup chopped pecans
¼ cup sesame seeds
3 tablespoons ground flax
3 tablespoons hemp seeds
2 tablespoons chia seeds
2 tablespoons cacao nibs
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoons desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
Pinch of salt
Cinnamon, to taste
½ cup cashew butter (or nut butter of your choice)
Pulse dates in a food processor to a smooth paste that’s the consistency of peanut butter. (If your dates seem dry inside, soak them in water first for 30 minutes to an hour before processing.)
Gather all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add your date paste and cashew butter (or nut butter of your choice). With a rubber spatula, fold all the ingredients together until evenly combined.
Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Pour out the mixture onto the tray. Spread evenly, then layer another sheet of parchment paper on top. Take another tray or a heavy item of similar size, place on top of your parchment-lined mixture and press down firmly until you reach your desired thickness and the surface is flat.
Place in the refrigerator overnight to set. Then slice into 12 bars and enjoy!
— Courtesy Isabelle Jackson Nunes, executive chef, Canyon Ranch Woodside
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