If you’re still buying packaged raw energy bars, you’re spending too much and giving too much credit to the unnamed chefs behind the recipes who created them. To make your own raw energy bars at home, all you need are three simple, superfood ingredients, a food processor, a pantry staple or two and a few minutes to bring it all together. Moreover, once you master the recipe for making the “raw energy dough,” you’ll have the confidence to jazz up your own special recipe and really make superstar energy bars your own. These six tips will get you blending — super-fueled hikes, bikes, hangs and afternoon snacks await!
1. GET FRUITY
The main ingredient (and easily accessible energy source) in quick raw energy bars is dried fruits. Dried fruits, when enjoyed in moderation, provide our bodies with quick and easy to access glucose — used by our muscles to keep climbing, riding, running, swimming and hiking.
Dates, plums, cherries, figs, apricots, raisins … any and all are great ingredients for your bars. You could add a mixture of fruits to your bars or simply pick one kind. Softer dried fruits (such as dates or moist figs) can be used and blended into your energy bars without soaking them. For dried cherries, raisins and other harder fruit bits, soak them in warm water for about 10 minutes before using. Then drain the fruit well and add to your energy bar mix.
2. GO NUTS (AND SEEDS)
Nuts pack the protein punch that gives your energy bars a little lasting power and texture to boot. Almonds, pecans, walnuts, cashews, peanuts, coconut shreds and pumpkin seeds are all great add ins. Use a single kind of nut. or a mixture. Toast them briefly to boost their flavors (just a few minutes in the oven at 350ºF until just fragrant will do!)
3. FAT IS PHAT
Nuts are great sources of fat in your bars, but a little bit of oil ensures everything blends together well. You could also use olive or hazelnut oil here, but coconut oil has a nice flavor and melts easily.
4. BOOSTS OR BUST
There are lots of ways to boost the nutritional punch in your raw energy bars. Adding a tablespoon of ground flax seed, your favorite protein powder or adaptogenic potions would all be great here. Ultimately, you want your raw energy dough to stick together so if you find that adding a boost in the form of a dry powder makes it hard for your bars to gel, add a tablespoon of water to get them glued together again.
5. PERK IT UP
When you’re hot, tired and hungry, nothing perks up your palate and your mood like something salty, sweet or tart. Adding a little bit of salt and some lemon, orange or other citrus zest to your bars makes them darn good no matter how deep in the hole you are (and it even makes them more interesting to enjoy in the middle of a work day, too!)
6. IN THE MIX
The easiest part about mixing up your own raw energy bars is the mixing itself. Pulse together the dry ingredients, turn them out into a bowl, then pulse the wet ingredients together. Combine everything, then mix with your hands until you have a cohesive dough. Press into a prepared pan, let set for a bit, slice and enjoy!
DATE, PLUM AND PECAN RAW ENERGY BARS
- 1 cup medjool dates, sliced in half and pitted
- 3/4 cup dried plums
- 1/2 cup pecans (or sprouted pecans if you can find them)
- 1/4 cup coconut shreds
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 tablespoons finely ground flaxseed, plus more for sprinkling
- 1/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
- Zest of one lemon
Preheat the oven to 350°F and place the pecans onto a baking sheet. Bake for 5–7 minutes until the pecans are just toasted. Remove from oven, turn off heat and set aside. (If you’re using sprouted pecans, skip this step.)
Line an 8-by-8 pan with parchment or wax paper. Sprinkle lightly but completely with ground flax seed, then set aside.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the pecans, flax, salt and coconut. Empty into a broad bowl. Then, pulse together the dates, plums, zest and coconut oil until there aren’t any more large chunks of fruit. Turn the fruit mixture out into the same broad bowl and combine with your hands until a nice ball of dough has formed.
Empty the mixture out onto the prepared pan. Press out in the pan until its the same thickness all over, about 1/2 inch.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to chill overnight until hard. Remove from refrigerator, slice into squares and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Storing in the refrigerator keeps the texture of the bars hard, rather than soft.
Serves: 16 | Serving Size: 2-inch square
Nutrition (per serving): Calories: 97; Total Fat: 5g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 3mg; Carbohydrate: 15g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 1g