I have wanted to attempt my own energy bars for a while. I love KIND granola bars, but they can get expensive. For this months Recipe Redux Challenge: Bars & Bites for Brown Bags, we were challenged to create something small and full of goodness for our lunch boxes.
“Whether you pack your lunch in a bento box, a brown bag or a retro cartoon character lunch box, don’t forget the bars and bites. Small squares or round bites can pack nutrition into a sweet or savory taste. Show us your favorite way to jazz up any type of lunch box.”
Granola/Energy Bars are perfect! I searched online for a lot of recipes. The one recipe I liked the most was from the Minimalist Baker. I wanted to try to make the energy bar with no added sugar, but my attempt at this did not work out so well. The bars fell apart. Round two with some brown sugar worked out much better.
Many recipes instruct you to toast the rolled oats. I also toasted the peanuts and almonds I chose to use to increase their flavor. In one attempt I left the pan in the oven too long and the peanuts started to get very brown, which I didn’t enjoy. Slightly toasted them for 10 minutes gave them a flavor I preferred.
I love dates and have been experimenting with them more as a sweeter. I soaked these dates in water over night to soften them. These particular dates were not pitted as I found out when I tried to puree them. Check for pits! Thankfully I didn’t ruin my food processor. Soaked dates can easily be pureed using about 1-2 tablespoons of the water you used to soak them.
Date puree can be placed back into your refrigerator if you have any left to use for other recipes. I pureed about a dozen dates, which gave me about 1 1/2 cups of date puree.
I love chocolate, if you have not guessed that yet!. I added mini chocolate chips to the energy bar ingredients. If you want them in their original form mix them in last so they don’t melt. I mixed them in with everything else, so the mini chips melted in with the other ingredients.
I melted the maple syrup with the peanut butter in a small pot. Then I added the oats, nuts, and chocolate chips and stirred until all the ingredients were combined.
I lined a 13×9 inch glass dish with plastic wrap. Spread the energy bar into the pan, pressing the energy bar ingredients flat. Bars will end up about 1/2 inch thick. Place the dish into the freezer for at least 2 hours until set.
When the energy bars are set, cut them into squares. I was able to get about 18, 2 inch squares, out of the batch. The bars can be kept in the freezer to keep them fresh.
Here is a picture of my lunch one day last week. I take an energy bar out of the freezer in the morning before I leave for the hospital. The bar is thawed by the time I am ready to enjoy it.
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup lightly salted peanuts
- 10 pitted dates, softened and pureed.
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Dates: cover with water and soak over night.
- Puree dates in food processor with 1-2 tablespoons of water.
- Toast oats, almonds, and peanuts in a 350 degree F oven for 10 minutes.
- Process nuts in a food processor to chop nuts to desired size.
- In a saucepan combine peanut butter and maple syrup.
- Cook until sugar dissolves.
- Add oats, almonds, peanuts, date puree and chocolate chips to peanut butter mixture.
- Stir to combine.
- Pour into a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap.
- Place energy bar into the freezer for 2-3 hours or until set.
- Cut into squares.