The newly introduced Aztec Energy Bars at chic Viceroy Zihuatanejo on Mexico’s Pacific coast have quickly become a hit with fitness-conscious guests – and the favorite after-workout pick-me-up at the resort’s gym. They are prepared with oats, nuts and dried fruits, but what really sets them apart is a traditional Mexican grain – the nutritional, and gluten-free, powerhouse of amaranth that was a staple of the ancient Aztecs. Amaranth was a food of the gods in the Aztec world, representing as much as 80% of their caloric consumption and used in ritual drinks and dishes. It held such sway over the Aztecs that the Spanish outlawed its cultivation after the conquest.
These Aztec Energy Bars are easy to make at home, particularly since the magical amaranth grain has been discovered by nutritionists and foodies in the U.S. (it has more protein than wheat, low carbohydrate content and is rich in amino acids, fiber, calcium, magnesium and iron) and can now can be found in health- and specialty-food stores or online.
Viceroy Zihuatanejo’s executive chef, Paco Isordia, created this recipe to reward guests who commit to working out while on vacation, jumping into everything at the resort from martial arts classes and yoga instruction to stand-up paddle boarding, fly-boarding and the well-equipped gym. He drew inspiration from the various uses of amaranth in Mexico today.
A paradisal on Mexico’s Pacific coast, Viceroy Zihuatanejo is nestled on one of the country’s most beautiful and pristine beaches, Playa La Ropa, on tranquil Zihuatanejo Bay. The enchanting two-story adobe-inspired casitas, housing 46 luxurious suites and guestrooms, are tucked in gentle hills above the picturesque fishing village of Zihuatanejo. The garden landscape is rich with coconut trees, rainbow-hued bougainvillea and vibrant hibiscus. The resort’s exquisite white-sand beach stretches for 600 feet along a gorgeous coastline. Guests enjoy massages and treatments at an intimate spa in a lush tropical setting, fitness center, yoga program and an array of activities from water sports to cooking classes.
Aztec Energy Bars
4 cups oats
2 cups shredded coconut
1 cup sliced almonds
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup organic honey
1 ½ cups diced dried apricots (or diced dried peaches)
1 cup diced candied figs
1 cup dried cherries or raisins
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups amaranth
1 cup agave syrup
1 Preheat the oven to 350F.
2. Combine the oats, coconut, walnuts and almonds in a large bowl. Stir the olive oil and honey together in a small bowl and pour over the oat mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until completely mixed together. Spread the mixture on an oven tray and bake, stirring occasionally with a spatula, until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Blend in the dried fruits and return to the oven for about 5 more minutes.
3. Bring the agave syrup to a boil. Transfer the energy bar mixture to a tray basted with a little oil to prevent sticking. Add the hot syrup to the mixture and combine thoroughly with a spatula. Using a rolling pin, flatten and compact. Once hardened, transfer to a cutting board and using a sharp knife cut into bars in the shape and size you desire.