Granola bars aren’t usually the kinds of things that I tackle in my home kitchen, mostly because they’re too darn wholesome and practical, but I couldn’t pass up making a batch of Prairie Pâté—a wonderfully twisted granola bar punctuated with pork rinds, sweetened with honey and marshmallows, tarted with dried fruit, and fortified with three varieties of nuts and whey protein powder.
I found this most unusual recipe while thumbing through the latest issue of Bon Appétit. Once the idea of a chicharrón–studded energy bar took hold of my imagination, I found it difficult to concentrate on anything else; I just had to know what this peculiar combination of ingredients tasted like as soon as possible.
Since the recipe called for a random assortment of dried goods that I didn’t already have in my pantry, I headed for the bulk bins at my local Sprouts. There, I found everything that I needed and was able to purchase the precise amount of each that the recipe called for. I mean, what’s a girl to do with a full-sized jug of whey protein powder? Problem solved.
The resulting bars were sweet and tangy with just the right amount of porky essence—the bites with cracklins and cranberries were especially noteworthy. Since the article’s author promised that these bars “will sustain you during car rides and afternoon hikes,” The Astronomer and I packed them on our Sunday afternoon stroll through Eaton Canyon. Sure enough, we were very well fueled from start to finish. It must’ve been the pork rinds.
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 10-ounce bag marshmallows
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/2 cup unflavored whey protein powder
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 cup raw shelled sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
- 2 ounces pork rinds (about 2 cups), large pieces crumbled
Line a 13x9x2-inch pan with parchment paper or nonstick spray. Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add marshmallows and honey and cook, stirring constantly, until marshmallows are melted.
Add protein powder and stir until smooth. Off heat, fold in oats, sunflower seeds, nuts, cranberries, and pork cracklins. Working quickly, stir to combine.