5 Chocolate-Based Energy Snacks for the Trail
These snacks marry chocolate with energy-based and nutrient-packed ingredients – so you get a chocolate fix along with good fuel to keep you going. Combine carbs with protein and fibre to slow down digestion and the release of the sugar into your blood stream, and you get longer-lasting energy – just what you need to get you through to the home stretch!
Chocolate Cherry Multigrain Cookies
Makes about 24
The hearty flakes and seeds provide protein and fibre; the dates and cherries also provide natural sweetness, and the chocolate makes them a real treat for the trail. These are soft so they’re best packed in a rigid container for protection.
• 1 cup chopped pitted dates
• 3/4 cup almond milk, divided1 cup rolled oats
• 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
• 1/2 cup barley flakes (or additional rolled oats)
• 1/4 cup whole wheat flour or quinoa flour
• 1/4 cup hemp seeds or chia seeds
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1/2 cup cold pressed seed oil (or melted coconut oil)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 egg
• 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
• 1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
1) Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Line 2 large baking trays with baking paper.
2) In a small saucepan, bring dates and 1/2 cup of the almond milk to a simmer over medium heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until dates are very soft. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool.
3) In another bowl, combine oats, quinoa flakes, barley flakes, flour, hemp seeds, baking powder and salt.
4) Whisk remaining almond milk, oil, vanilla and egg into date mixture until blended. Add dry ingredients and stir until evenly moistened. Stir in chocolate chunks and cherries.
5) Drop by heaping tablespoon onto baking sheets, at least 1 inch apart, and flatten slightly.
6) Bake, one sheet at a time, for about 15 minutes or until golden and tops are firm. Let cool on pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then transfer to rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at a cool room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Banana Split Trail Mix
Makes about 3 1/2 cups
Protein from the nuts, carbs and fibre from the dried fruits, and sweet treats in the form of chocolate and yoghurt chips are the complete package – and perfectly backpack-friendly.
• 1 cup chopped pecans or peanuts
• 1/2 cup dried banana slices or banana chips
• 1/2 cup dried strawberry slices
• 1/2 cup dried pineapple pieces
• 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips• 1/4 cup yoghurt baking chips
1) In an airtight container, combine nuts, bananas, strawberries, pineapple, chocolate chunks and yoghurt chips. Store in a cool place for up to 1 month.
2) Drying your own fruit in a food dehydrator allows you to create delicious snacks without added sugar. If you don’t have a dehydrator, try to find unsweetened dried fruits or freeze-dried fruits for this trail mix.
3) If the weather is hot, skip the yoghurt chips and replace the chocolate chunks with raw cacao nibs to avoid melting messiness.
Honey Peanut Chocolate Chews
Makes 18 squares
Reminiscent of a classic peanut-packed candy bar! Protein and fibre from peanuts, protein from soy milk powder and natural sweetness and carbs from the honey provide important nutrients – and the cocoa punch gives that chocolatey “mmmmm”!
• 1.5 cups unsalted roasted peanuts
• 1/4 cup soy milk powder
• 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• Pinch of salt
• 2 tbsp water
• 1/2 cup honey
• 3 tbsp butter, cubed
1) Line a 9”x 5” loaf pan with baking paper.
2) In a food processor, pulse peanuts to chop into small pieces. Transfer about half (3/4 cup) to a medium bowl; set 2 tbsp of those aside in a small bowl for garnish. Pulse remaining peanuts in processor until ground (but not to the butter stage). Add to the medium bowl.
3) In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk powder, cocoa and salt. Whisk in water, honey and butter. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and boil, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until thickened and syrupy.
4) Remove from heat and stir in peanuts until well blended. Using a heatproof spatula, scrape into prepared pan and press firmly. Sprinkle reserved 2 tbsp chopped peanuts on top, pressing lightly. Refrigerate in pan until firm.
5) Using paper as handles, remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into squares. Store in an airtight container or wrapped individually at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
– If you don’t have a food processor, buy 3/4 cup ground peanuts (or other ground nut) and 3/4 cup whole peanuts; chop the whole nuts into small pieces with a knife.
Cocoa Sesame Almonds
Makes about 3 cups
Portable, satisfying and loaded with protein, almonds are a terrific go-to snack for the trail. Coat them in a sweet-and-salty cocoa glaze and crust them with cacao nibs and sesame seeds and they’re even better! These beauties are amazingly munchable (so you might want to make a double batch!).
• 2 cups whole raw almonds
• 1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
• 1/4 cup sesame seeds
• 3 tbsp granulated cane sugar or coconut sugar
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
• 3 tbsp water
• 1 tbsp melted coconut oil
• 2 tbsp honey
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 175°C (350°F). Line a large rimmed baking tray with baking paper.
2) Spread almonds on baking tray. Toast almonds in preheated oven for 10 minutes or until golden and fragrant. Immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl. (Leave oven on; reserve baking tray.)
3) In a mini chopper, spice grinder or a small food processor, pulse cacao nibs until they’re about the size of sesame seeds. Transfer to a large, heatproof bowl and stir in sesame seeds, sugar and salt.
4) In a medium saucepan, combine cocoa and water; stir in honey and coconut oil. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring often. Add nuts and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 to 3 minutes until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Add nuts to sesame seed mixture and toss to evenly coat.
5) Spread on reserved baking tray and bake for 10 minutes or until sesame seeds are toasted. Let cool completely on baking tray. Store in a glass jar for up to 1 month.
Chocolate Macaroon Protein Bars
This no-bake, easy-to-make protein bar is made from real ingredients and gives you a chocolatey satisfaction. Each bar contains about 10g protein (enough to keep you going, but not so much it weighs you down) along with carbs and fibre. In warm weather these will soften somewhat, so pack in a rigid container.
• 2 cups quick-cooking rolled oats
• 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
• 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
• 2/3 cup coconut sugar or cane sugar
• 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
• 1/2 cup unsweetened protein powder or instant skim milk
• 2 tbsp cocoa powder
• 3/4 cup natural unsweetened almond butter (or sunflower seed butter)
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• 1/3 cup raw cacao nibs
1) Line a 9” baking pan with baking paper, leaving at least 1” overhang.
2) In a medium saucepan, toast oats and quinoa over medium heat, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until dry; add coconut and toast, stirring, for 2 minutes or until coconut is fragrant and quinoa is toasted. Transfer to a bowl and let cool.
3) In same saucepan, combine sugar, chocolate, skim milk powder, cocoa, seed butter, milk and coconut oil. Heat over low heat, stirring often, just until smooth and blended. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.
4) Pour over oat mixture and add cacao nibs; stir until evenly moistened. Scrape into prepared pan and press firmly. Let cool in pan on a wire rack until firm.
5) Using paper as handles, remove from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into bars. Store in an airtight container or wrapped individually in the refrigerator or at a cool room temperature for up to 2 weeks.
– If you have quinoa flakes in your pantry, reduce the oats to 1-1/2 cups and add 1/2 cup quinoa flakes for even more protein.
NOTE: Always buy dark chocolate!
Dark chocolate not only gives you a more intense chocolate flavour, but it also contains fewer added ingredients, giving you the benefit of chocolate’s antioxidants, alkaloids and minerals. When buying chocolate products for your homemade trail snacks, check the ingredients list and buy those with as few ingredients as possible, and those that tout cocoa solids, cacao, cacao mass or chocolate liquor listed first.What are your favourite snacks for the trail? Leave us a message on Facebook or in the comments below.
By Jennifer Mackenzie
Enjoyed this? Check out Top 5 Hiking Snacks.