How-to Make Homemade Energy Bars

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Tutorial Tuesdays // Tasty YummiesHow-to Make Homemade Energy Bars

I’m leaving town tomorrow. No, not for good, just for a few days. I am hitting the road to head up to Lake Tahoe for the Wanderlust Festival in Squaw Valley. With an 8+ hour drive ahead of me, I have to plan ahead with snacks and food for both the drive and when I get there. It’s super important for me to know that I have what I need to be nourished and energized, especially when I am away from home and my routines, but also with how active I will be over the 4 days of the festival. Lots of yoga, hiking, maybe some stand-up paddle boarding and definitely some dancing!

How-to Make Homemade Energy Bars

One of my favorite things to make are homemade energy bars. They are so simple to make, a great way to energize with healthy fats, proteins and fiber and they are always soo yummy! I have gone from baking my own with oats and nuts, to keeping it super simple with these no-bake, grain-free, date-sweetened bars, reminiscent of the LÄRABAR®.

The great thing about making these yourself is not only having full control of the quality of the ingredients, but also having fun with various flavor combos. You can get creative with by pairing your favorite flavors or you can simply go nuts with whatever you happen to have on hand in the pantry, that you need to use up. The latter tends to be the case for me.

Coconut Mango Lime Energy Bars

For the sake of this tutorial I whipped up two of my favorite flavor combos: Coconut Mango Lime and Berry Cobbler. The Coconut Mango Lime Energy Bars on top of being grain-free and vegan they are also totally nut and seed-free, so they are perfect for those with allergies or intolerances or even someone following the autoimmune protocol. The Berry Cobbler bars, I made bite-sized and those do contain nuts.

Coconut Mango Lime Energy Bars

All you have to do is follow my simple base recipe and then you can get creative from there. Trust me when I tell you, these are really hard to screw up. Once you’ve made your base mixture and get creative with your flavors, you can decide if you want to opt for full-sized bars, smaller bites or little balls. If you really wanna get crazy, dip them in some melted chocolate.

How-to Make Homemade Energy Bars

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How-to Make Homemade Energy Bars

Makes 8-12 bars (more if making bites)

BASE:

  • 1 cup pitted, dried Medjool dates
  • 1 cup nuts and/or unsweetened shredded coconut (alone or a combo of two)
  • 1 cup additional filling (more dates or other dried fruit, additional nuts or seeds, chocolate chips, coffee, etc)
  • 1-2 tablespoons coconut oil (I opt for 1 tablespoon when adding nuts)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch sea salt

Optional flavors and add-ins: 

  • nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans,
  • dried fruit: cranberries, cherries, blueberries, raisins, mangoes, pineapple, apples, bananas, prune, figs, apricots, etc
  • seeds: hemp, chia, flax sunflower, sesame etc
  • clean protein powder, collagen peptides, sprouted rice powder, etc
  • chocolate chips or cocoa nibs
  • cocoa powder
  • coffee or espresso powder
  • matcha powder, finely ground tea
  • gluten-free oats or other gluten-free grains
  • citrus juice and zest
  • fresh ginger
  • spices and herbs: cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves, lavender, mint, etc

How-to Make Homemade Energy Bars

Add all of the ingredients to your food processor. Pulse a few times to get going, then process until they come together into a chunky dough/paste. About 1 to 2 minutes. You may have to stop halfway through to scrape down the sides. Process the ingredients until the dough holds together when you form it into a ball.

Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. (I like to use two pieces going in opposite directions, so I can lift the bars right up and out of the pan) Add the mixture to the pan and press down firmly to even it out. Cover and place into the fridge for at least an hour to firm up.

Once chilled, remove the dough from being wrapped in a pan and with a sharp knife cut into 8 bars or 16 bite-sized pieces. Store wrapped individually either in plastic wrap, parchment paper or individual bags.

Alternatively before chilling, rather than pressing into a pan you can roll the dough into little balls or form it by hand into individual bars.

These will keep for several weeks.

NOTES: 

If your dates (or other dried fruit) are quite dry or too hard, soak for 10 minutes in warm water and drain well, before processing.

These bars are nice and firm straight from the fridge, the longer they sit at room temperature, the softer they will be.

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How-to Make Homemade Energy Bars

Coconut Mango Lime Energy Bars

Mango Coconut Lime Energy Bars

  • 1 cup dates
  • 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dried mangoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • sea salt

Follow the instructions above.

Berry Cobbler Energy Bars

Berry Cobbler Energy Bars

  • 1 cup dates
  • 3/4 cup almonds
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 cup dried berries (I used cherries, cranberries, goji berries)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch sea salt

Follow the instructions above.

Coconut Mango Lime Energy Bars

Other Flavor Combination Ideas:

Almond Joy
coconut, almonds, chocolate chips

Mint Chocolate
chocolate chips, cocoa powder and mint extract

Peanut Butter and Jelly
peanuts, dried cherries

Banana Bread
dried bananas, almonds and/or walnuts, cinnamon

Double Chocolate
cocoa powder and dark chocolate chunks

Cherry Pie
almonds and/or walnuts, dried cherries and a little cinnamon

Apple Pie
almonds and/or walnuts, dried apples, cinnamon

Peanut Butter Cup
peanuts, chocolate chips

Gingerbread
almonds, molasses, ginger (fresh or dried), ground cloves

Lemon Bar
almonds or walnuts, lemon juice and lemon zest

S’mores
chocolate chips, cinnamon, mini marshmallows

Oatmeal Cookie
gluten-free rolled oats, raisins (or cranberries), cinnamon

Carrot Cake
shredded carrots, dried pinapple, raisins, cinnamon

Key Lime
Coconut or coconut butter, lime juice and lime zest

 

8 Responses

  1. Nana P says:

    I’ve been working on a consistent energy bar recipe-mine always turn out too soft. These look great and I’m anxious to try them! Thanks. And as always, the photography is beautiful!

    • Beth @ Tasty Yummies says:

      I find adding the coconut oil and then refrigerating firms them up a little. These are quite forgiving, you can almost literally get away with just dumping things into the food processor and just feeling the dough, the more you make them.

  2. Angie says:

    Yum! I can’t wait to try these. Thank you!

  3. jessy jarjoura says:

    Hello Beth,

    I just love your recipes so thank you.

    However, I have one small concern regarding the energy bars. You have gave us flavor combination ideas, I was wondering do I use the same ingredients as the base recipe and I add the flavors or I just replace some of the base recipe with the suggested combinations?

    I do not know if you got what I mean.

    Thank you in advance.

    Regards,

    Jessy Jarjoura

    • Beth @ Tasty Yummies says:

      Jessy thanks for the comment, those are just meant to be suggestions, many were just fun flavor combo ideas that came to me and I’ve never even made myself. It’s pretty hard to screw these up if you use that base as a guide. Using my suggestions, you can look at that base and decide to use the base as is or swap things around, for example you could use 1 cup pecans or walnut for a recipe. From there you can keep the dates and add more fruit or double the dates. Then add spices or other extras I suggest or whatever else you want. Basically, if you mix the dough together and it holds in little balls when you squeeze it, you’ll be good. Hope that helps a little.

  4. Amen to the date snack bar! In this heat, my coconut oil lives at a permanent liquid state. Would this affect the binding at all?

  5. Jacqui Kruzewski says:

    I made these and they are lovely, addictive even!
    I followed your base recipe using what I had, then added a whole pack of crystallised ginger. It was only going to be a small amount but I kept adding and tasting until I got something that tasted really good. As I’m in the UK and we tend to weigh rather than use cups, I weighed everything as I added it. I’m glad I did that because I can now reproduce them. Of course I’m going to make other flavour combinations too!
    We have quite good branded energy /snack bars here, but they are not a patch on yours, so I shall be making mine in future. I’m really glad I tried these and really recommend them – they are so easy and so good!

  6. Darasings says:

    I made a slight variation of your basic recipe and it was amazing! This was the first time I’d ever attempted energy bars at home and yours did not disappoint. I’m excited to try a grated carrot/fresh ginger/dried pineapple variation and an espresso powder/chocolate chip version next. It’s hard not to get carried away!

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