A few weeks ago I was sent some sample of Matisse & Jacks TrailBlaze Bake-At-Home Oatmeal Energy Bars. Perfect, I thought to myself, I can take them with me on the camping/wedding trip. Predictably with all the confusion on what to pack when you are both camping and dressing up, I completely failed to get to them. Turns out they are so easy to make I probably could have found time.
I have to admit I was wee bit skeptical about what they might taste like, I’m not a fan of energy bars. I’m glad to report I was pleasantly surprised. The Chocolate Chip flavor was not too sweet and completely satisfying as a pre-workout snack. The Cranberry Walnut bars smelled deliciously like oatmeal cookies and gingerbread as they were cooling, and maintained that flavor.
I couldn’t help myself, I baked the Chocolate Chip flavor in the Baker’s Edge Pan. The directions call for a 8×8″ pan so I didn’t use the whole pan.
You mix the dry ingredients with a few wet ingredients, of which you have three choices. The Original is applesauce and vanilla yogurt, the Vegan and/or Dairy-free calls for applesauce and a bit of water, and the Less Sweet calls for regular yogurt, water and vanilla extract. You just mix one of those choices with ingredients from the box, press it into a baking dish and pop in the oven.
For the Chocolate Chip I chose the Original wet ingredients. The bars were dense and slightly spongy — which doesn’t sound good but it was, it was more like a quickbread and had a nice chewyness to them. The texture also allows the bars to very portable for hikes or bike rides, they won’t crumble as you eat them. There are instructions on making crisper bars in the FAQ.
For the Cranberry Walnut I used the Less Sweet instructions and baked them in an 8×8 Pyrex dish. These had the same texture and plenty of nuts that added texture.
We did the ultimate test in our kitchen, we wrapped them up and put them in the fridge (per directions). If we didn’t like them they simply wouldn’t get eaten. But, they were all gone in four days. There are only two of us and we were showing restraint because we knew they were energy bars and not cookies.
I tend to forget lunch, which makes me cranky, and all last week and this week I was thrilled to find there were still energy bars ready for me to grab. One bar (the box makes nine) was more satisfying than a bowl of cereal and all the good-for-me ingredients made me happy, and noticably made my brain clearer (when compared to, say, a Diet Coke or a handful of corn chips). The bars have no trans fats, lots of fiber and protein, and omega-3s. I’m going to make these a regular item in our household.
The box comes with some Tips, including toasting the bars (I’m so glad I have one left so I can try this), as well as a bonus recipe for Oatmeal Energy Muffins using the mix. The bars are also environmentally friendly, the box is make of recycled materials and is recyclable itself. Matisse & Jack’s is a small company, so you can feel good about where your money is going. There is plenty more info on the site.