Real Trail Meals

August 20, 2020

The following is an excerpt from AMC’s Real Trail Meals by Ethan and Sarah Hipple.

Double Chocolate Granola Bars

Makes: 12 bars
Weight: 1.85 lbs.
vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, make at home

Ingredients
1½ cups rolled oats
1 cup slivered almonds
2 cups pitted dates
¾ cup cocoa powder
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup almond butter
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method

  1. Line a 9-by-13-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Spread oats and almonds evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake at 350° F for 10 to 15 minutes, until mix begins to brown.
  3. Soak dates in warm water for 10 minutes then drain.
  4. Process dates in a food processor for about a minute, or until they form a doughlike ball.
  5. Add cocoa powder to dates and continue to process until combined.
  6. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and add in oats and almonds. This will be too hard to stir with a spoon, so you will need to knead the mix with your hands.
  7. Heat maple syrup and almond butter together for 1 minute in a microwave-safe bowl or on the stovetop, stirring regularly until smooth.
  8. Pour liquid over date mixture and combine thoroughly with your hands.
  9. Press mix into prepared pan and refrigerate for 1 hour to set up.
  10. Remove from pan and cut into 12 bars.
  11. Wrap each bar individually with plastic wrap for easy access on the trail.

Servings: 12

PER SERVING
Calories: 341
Fat: 26g
Protein: 8g
Sodium: 4mg
Fiber: 8g
Carbohydrates: 48g
Sugar: 29g
Vitamin A: 0%
Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 6%
Iron: 27%

Cherry Choco-Nut Granola Bars

Makes: 12 bars
Weight: 1.2 lbs.
vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, make at home

Ingredients
1 cup cashews, chopped
½ cup slivered almonds
½ cup dried cherries, chopped
½ cup puffed rice cereal
¼ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
1⁄8 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon flax seeds
¼ cup corn syrup (look for non-GMO and non-high-fructose varieties, or substitute with the replacement of your choice; e.g., cane syrup)
1 tablespoon peanut butter

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 325° F. Line 8-by-8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the corn syrup and peanut butter. Stir into nut mixture until thoroughly combined.
  4. Using an extra sheet of parchment paper, press sticky mix into the pan.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool completely in pan.
  6. Remove from pan and cut into 12 bars.
  7. Wrap each bar individually with plastic wrap for easy access on the trail.

Servings: 12

PER SERVING
Calories: 196
Fat: 18g
Protein: 5g
Sodium: 47mg
Fiber: 2g
Carbohydrates: 18g
Sugar: 8g
Vitamin A: 1%
Vitamin C: 2%
Calcium: 3%
Iron: 14%

Abigail CoyleChocolate and peanut butter deliver protein and a burst of energy.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Makes: 12 bars
Weight: 1.8 lbs.
vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free, make at home

Ingredients
2⁄3 cup corn syrup (look for non-GMO and non-high-fructose varieties, or substitute with the replacement of your choice; e.g., cane syrup)
½ cup peanut butter
1⁄3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups quick oats
2 cups puffed rice cereal
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

Method

  1. Line an 8-by-8-inch pan with parchment paper and spray with a flavor-neutral greasing agent (such as butter).
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine corn syrup, peanut butter, and brown sugar. Microwave for 1 minute and stir until smooth.
  3. Add vanilla, cocoa, salt, and whisk again until smooth.
  4. Stir in oats, rice cereal, and ¾ cup chocolate chips until thoroughly combined.
  5. Using an extra sheet of parchment paper, press mix into pan.
  6. Evenly sprinkle with last ¼ cup of chocolate chips, pressing lightly so chips adhere to mixture.
  7. Allow to cool completely in pan.
  8. Cut into 12 bars. Wrap each bar individually with plastic wrap for easy access on the trail.

Servings: 12

PER SERVING
Calories: 310
Fat: 12g
Protein: 6g
Sodium: 297mg
Fiber: 4g
Carbohydrates: 49g
Sugar: 23g
Vitamin A: 2%
Vitamin C: 5%
Calcium: 3%
Iron: 17%

Blueberry Granola Bars with Vanilla Icing

Makes: 12 bars
Weight: 1.5 lbs.
vegetarian, gluten-free, make at home

Ingredients
Bars
1½ cup puffed rice cereal
2 cups rolled oats
¼ cup chopped, roasted almonds
¼ cup shredded coconut (check labels and choose an unsweetened, single-ingredient version)
2 tablespoons chia seeds
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup dried blueberries
½ cup almond butter
½ cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla

Vanilla Icing
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
½ teaspoon gelatin
¼ cup plain yogurt
1⁄8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups powdered sugar

Method

  1. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with wax paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients, including dried blueberries.
  3. In a smaller, microwave-safe bowl, combine almond butter, honey, and vanilla. Microwave for about 30 seconds, or until warm enough to stir into a smooth liquid.
  4. Pour liquid over dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Dump sticky mixture into prepared pan and press into all corners with the heel of your hand or the back of a spatula.
  6. Place pan in freezer for 30 minutes to set.
  7. While pan is chilling, prepare icing. In a small bowl, combine water, vanilla, and gelatin.
  8. In a larger, microwave-safe bowl, combine yogurt, salt, and honey. Microwave until warm and very loose. Whisk well.
  9. Pour gelatin mixture into the yogurt mixture and mix thoroughly. Stir until all gelatin is dissolved. Add powdered sugar.
  10. Take the pan out of the freezer and lift the loaf from the pan using the edge of the wax paper.
  11. Cut into bars.
  12. Line a baking sheet with another sheet of wax paper.
  13. Take each bar and dip half into icing. Hold the bar over the bowl of icing and let the extra drip into the bowl. Place bars icing-side up on lined pan. Repeat with each bar until they’re all iced.
  14. Let bars dry overnight so icing hardens. Wrap each bar individually with plastic wrap for easy access on the trail.

Servings: 12

PER SERVING
Calories: 291
Fat: 9g
Protein: 6g
Sodium: 155mg
Fiber: 3g
Carbohydrates: 50g
Sugar: 36g
Vitamin A: 2%
Vitamin C: 6%
Calcium: 5%
Iron: 13%

Ski Bars

Makes: 24 bars
Weight: 3.5 lbs.
vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, make at home, heavy

These are a perfect midday pick-me-up while skiing or hiking in cooler weather. The bars are sweet and delicious but can be on the soft side; make sure to wrap them well so they don’t make a mess in your pack. Keep any extras in the freezer for up to 6 months; frozen bars kept in a pack should thaw enough to eat in a few hours.

Ingredients
2 cups creamy peanut butter
1 cup honey
4 cups rolled oats
½ cup oat bran
¼ cup shredded coconut (check labels and choose an unsweetened, single-ingredient version)
¼ cup water
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup dried fruit, chopped
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips

Method

  1. Line a 9-by-11-inch pan with parchment paper.
  2. Mix all ingredients together in large bowl.
  3. Press into lined pan.
  4. Place pan in refrigerator for one hour, until mixture sets and chills completely.
  5. Cut into 12 bars. Wrap each bar individually with plastic wrap for easy access on the trail.

Servings: 24

PER SERVING
Calories: 269
Fat: 14g
Protein: 8g
Sodium: 102mg
Fiber: 3g
Carbohydrates: 32g
Sugar: 24g
Vitamin A: 2%
Vitamin C: 0%
Calcium: 2%
Iron: 8%

If you enjoyed making any of these recipes and are interested in discovering more, you might consider purchasing a copy.

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Ethan Hipple

Along with Kim Foley MacKinnon, Ethan Hipple writes AMC's Great Kids, Great Outdoors blog. He fell in love with the outdoors as a teenager, when he worked on a Student Conservation Association (SCA) trail crew. He has directed the New Hampshire Conservation Corps and is currently the Parks Director for Portland, Me., where he lives with his wife, Sarah, and their two kids. His latest book for AMC is Outdoors with Kids Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, cowritten with Yemaya St. Clair.