My brother and I recently completed a ninety mile backpacking trip on the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail in Vermont. As part of the provisions we carried with us we both made food bars from scratch. They were easy to make, easy to carry, and had twice the food value of common commercially available products at a comparable cost.

Step 1: Ingredients:

Crunchy peanut butter (1/2 cup)
Caramel cubes (1/4 cup, approx. 10 cubes)
Semisweet chocolate chips (1/4 cup)
Sweetened condensed milk (1 cup)
Oatmeal (1/2 cup) (wheat germ may be an even more food-dense alternative)
Protein powder (1.5 cup)
Walnuts, diced (1/2 cup)
Raisins (1/4 cup)
Craisins (1/4 cup)

When purchasing materials in the store, be sure to compare brands to get the product with the highest food value per unit volume. I focused on calorie, carbohydrate, and protein content.

<p>What can I replace caramel cubes with?</p>
<p>You said the recipe makes five cups of mix and that you divided the recipe into five one cup bars... but the photo shows the baked bars divided into SIX. </p><p>Did I miss something?</p>
awesome and very filling
Well, evidently the loader ain't gonna work! <br>Anyhow, thanks again for posting your recipe.
Oops - images didn't load the first time - the original bar is the one on the plate.
Going on a 5 day hike in the Dolomites where I live and trying to come up with a lunch that can be eaten on the go so I tried your recipe with vanilla flavored protein powder and baking chocolate (dark) instead - these came out quite tasty and not very sweet, with a flavor similar to a &quot;carob&quot; bar. They were a bit harder than I expected so I tried another batch using honey instead of condensed milk and put them in my homemade dehydrator for 24 hours - these came out much softer plus I cut them up into smaller bite-sized pieces. Good stuff, great idea and great recipe - thanks!
You could conceivably make these last as long as Clif bars if you cut 'em up hot and vacuum sealed them (particularly if you use mylar). That would seal out any bacteria or oxygen so there'd be little risk of anything happening except by breakdowns internal to the bars themselves.<br><br>I don't know what consistency they are right out of the oven, but even at room temperature with a clean knife you could probably seal them almost sterile, and you'll know if they go bad when the package swells up. Just toss it and don't even worry about the smell!
these sound good even when your not hiking ! I know that condensed milk will last for quite awhile in the can but I'm not so sure about long term after being used in a product (the middle of any trail would be a bad place to come down with a stomach bug) Did you consider using honey? it's a great energy source, is hydroscopic (attracts moisture) and is a natural perservative, it may make the current recipe overly sweet though
I had not considered honey, but you're absolutely right about its potential value.<br><br>I was concerned about the stability of the condensed milk initially but my at-home testing seemed to show that it was alright. Both my brother and I used condensed milk in our recipes and neither showed any sign of turning after six days of hiking even though his weren't even baked. Still if you're looking to make something that would last for two or three weeks instead of just one, honey would definitely be the way to go.
uummm...what are &quot;crasins&quot;? <br>good instructable,and the recipie is easily personalizeble...kinda looks like what we call flapjacks-crushed cornfakes, oats and syrup, cooked into a caremelized biscuit/cookie. This one looks healthier than that though.
hahaha, maybe &quot;crasins&quot; are more of a regional thing. They are dried cranberries.<br><br>You are absolutely right about the customizability, especially if you used vanilla flavored protein powder so that you have more room to create your own flavor profile. I didn't use any seasonings in my recipe, but my brother used cinnamon in his, so there's all kinds of room for experimentation there. If you truly intend to use these as backpacking food, the only real limitation you need to stick to is using ingredients that are as shelf stable as possible.<br><br>I had thought of making an apple pie version with dried apples, all caramel instead of chocolate chips, and lots of cinnamon and nutmeg. Maybe I'll do that next time.

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Bio: After spending 2 years traveling my wife and I have lived in 8 different cities across the United States. Among other things we've had ... More »
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