Make your own mountain bars

March 10, 2010 § 2 Comments

March heralds the arrival of spring, and most importantly the ski-touring season.  I have a trip planned to the Vanoise in France mid month and Tim to Glarus in Switzerland a week later, so time to make a batch of mountain bars to provide energy on the hill.

I found this recipe a few years ago on the University of Oregon Library Staff Association website. They call it “Johnny Crunch” and recommend it as the ideal food for skiing, hiking, in fact any kind of strenuous outdoor activity.

Here’s a bar shot on location at the Kinder Downfall in the Peak District last autumn.

The bars taste good, are high in calories, are compact for slipping into your pocket, they don’t freeze to a tooth-shattering lump at low temperatures, nor do they melt at warmer ones. Oh, and there’s the added bonus that you can rub the almond oil they contain into your skin for an inpromptu handcream!

Once you’ve assembled the ingredients, it’s merely a case of mixing them up:

…then pressing into a suitably sized tin:

Recipe for Mountain Bars

Thanks to the University of Oregon Library Staff Association for this recipe. The quantities are all in American cups (US cup is 8 fl oz). Helpfully a standard 370g jar of honey, peanut butter etc equates approximately to a US cup so the measurements can be done by eye which makes life easier with dense sticky ingredients.

Most of the ingredients can be picked up easily at your local supermarket. Try a health food shop for the almond butter and barley malt/date syrup.

Note for those on gluten free diets. As far as I’m aware, the only gluten-containing ingredient in this recipe is the barley malt syrup. If you use date syrup instead, you have the perfect high energy gluten free snack. I skied with aspirant (now fully qualified) mountain guide Mark Thomas last year. Mark doesn’t tolerate gluten which makes life very difficult in the mountains where much of the staple food on offer (bread, pasta, cake etc) contains gluten. This one’s for you Mark!


2 cups puffed rice (I used rice crispies made by you-know who)
1 and 1/2 cups chopped walnuts or other favourite nuts
1 and 1/2 cups sesame seeds
3/4 cup runny honey
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter (I like Whole Earth)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup barley malt syrup (or date syrup for a gluten-free option)
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl with a wooden spoon. The mixture should be very firm and sticky. If it seems not firm enough, add more rice crispies and sesame seeds to give the correct consistency. Press into a 9 by 9 inch tin (or rectangular tin of similar area). DO NOT BAKE. Refrigerate overnight then cut into small squares and wrap individually in cling film. Makes 25-30 squares. Store in fridge or better still freezer if not using straightaway.

Variations: you can substitute linseeds for some of the sesame seeds and dried goji berries for some of the dried cranberries.

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§ 2 Responses to Make your own mountain bars

  • Marian Keall says:

    Hi Jennifer, sorry to be pedantic but I feel obliged to point out that there is (sadly) barley malt flovouring in you-know-who’s rice crispies so the gluten-intolerant member of this household won’t/can’t eat them. But the recipe looks delicious and I will certainly try it out next time I am going hill-walking or at least somewhere where I am guaranteed to burn more calories than the bars contain! And I’m sure it will work with gluten-free cereal! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Jennifer Raffle says:

      Marian, many thanks for pointing this out. And I’d tried so hard to get this recipe right! So, big fat warning, KELLOGGS RICE KRISPIES CONTAIN GLUTEN. Quick web search shows that Kallo Organic Puffed Wholegrain Rice cereal would be OK – Kallo website definitely says this product is gluten free.

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