Monday, June 27, 2016

Recipe Post: Fast On The Go Energy Bars For Your 4th of July Road Trip

For this recipe, I substituted the all natural honey I originally used with pureed dates.   The last recipe resulted in slightly crumbly bars acting more like a granola than an energy bar.  I learned my lesson here because I had used only a quarter cup of honey versus a half cup recommended in several other energy bar recipes.   The buttery smoothness and subtle sweet taste of the pureed date butter ended up making a delicious addition to these energy bars.  I hope you enjoy them as much I as did!

Making pureed dates into a sweetener was surprisingly easy; you simply do just that, puree it!  You first want to make sure the dates are pitted, and if not, I found that is incredibly easy too.  You can gently slice them down the long way and pull the pit out.

Before putting the dates in the blender or food processor, you will want to soak them in hot water for softening.  After a few minutes I then threw them in a food processor with a quarter cup of water.  Most recipes either included water or just the dates alone to puree; I used a 2:1 ratio for the whole dates to the amount of water used as I played around with the pureeing part.  For example, I used half a cup of whole dates (pitted) and a quarter cup of water in the food processor.   One simple recipe I found most helpful for making date puree was via the  food blog

In addition to the honey sweetener substitution, I also used steel cut quick-cooking oats instead of the rolled oats which I had run out of in my kitchen.  The steel cut version came out just as great in this recipe and the shape held together well.

No-Bake Energy Bars with Dates
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
9 bars
1 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/2 cup water
1 1/2 cups steel cut oats
1/4 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/3 cup toasted (or raw) almonds, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seed butter

1. Line with parchment paper (or grease with cooking spray), a shallow square baking pan.
2. Place the dates (originally soaked in water) and the water in a food processor or blender. Puree and set aside.
3. Stir together the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
4. Add in the pureed dates and sunflower seed butter.
5. Once thoroughly mixed, pour evenly into the pan and press down firmly.
6. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and keep in the refrigerator for at least two hours to harden.
7. Enjoy these bars for up to one week if kept in the fridge.

Two hours total time includes the time bars are kept in the fridge. This recipe couldn't be any simpler!

About the Author:
Kathryn Pfeffer is an RDN in Boston and writes her own blog at where she shares her culinary adventures bite by bite.  She is an experienced clinical dietitian in an acute and rehabilitation hospital in the Boston area and recently completed her first marathon in May.