Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sesame Kelp Bars

There is something about the smell of baking maple syrup that immediately brings me back to childhood. It must stem from early memories of sugar on snow, the anticipation of the syrup boiling on the stovetop before we could drizzle it on top of our mounding bowls of fresh winter bliss. Anyway, this recipe releases that essence as it bakes, and that is reason enough to bake it week after week. I found myself running out to the recycling bin every time I had one new addition just so I could re-enter the house to a fresh whiff of hot maple syrup.

Two minerals I endlessly aim to boost in my diet are calcium and iron. It just so happens that sesame seeds are potent in both minerals, as well as rich in copper, magnesium, fiber, and monounsaturated fats. In fact, two tablespoons (the amount in one of these bars) provides almost 20% of your RDA of both iron and calcium. They are ridiculously inexpensive as well, especially compared to other seeds and nuts, weighing in at just over one dollar per cup when purchased in bulk. Kombu, which is a form of kelp, is packed with iodine, making it extremely beneficial to our thyroid. Like all sea vegetables, it is high in trace minerals such as vitamin K, folate and magnesium. A truly detoxifying food, this is an easy way to sneak sea vegetables into your diet without even noticing their presence.

Inspired by a packaged sesame kelp bar made by Maine Coast Sea Vegetables (which ring in at $2.50 per bar), these are an inexpensive portable snack that will fill you with quality nutrients. Honestly, they are already a staple in my kitchen, and I made my first batch today! (notice the crumbs on the side in the picture....)

Sesame Kelp Bars

Serves 8


1 cup raw sesame seeds

2 7-inch strips of kombu

¼ cup maple syrup

sea salt to taste (about 1/8 tsp.)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Break kombu into pieces and grind it in a coffee grinder until it resembles a powder. Place in a large bowl. Add sesame seeds to grinder, a bit at a time, and pulse so about ½ the seeds are ground and half are whole, working in batches. Place in bowl with kombu. Add maple syrup and salt and stir to combine. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread mixture to about ¼ inch thick. Bake for 18 minutes or until fragrant and beginning to brown. Let cool and cut into bars.

Relax. Eat Well.

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