Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chocolate Energy Bars – Looking Good…Maybe Too Good

If you compare these chocolate energy bars to similar fruit/nut bars sold at the store, I think they taste better, are nutritionally superior, and probably cheaper to make at home. The only problem is they look so good.

These look like fudge brownies, and so it does take a millisecond for the brain to process that they’re not going to taste like fudge brownies. Having said that, they really are delicious, and satisfying in a non-decadent, but still chocolaty way.

Try your hardest to find Medjool dates, but if you can’t, any dried date should work, as long as it’s soft and sticky enough. If the ones you’re using seem too hard and dry, simply soak them in water until they soften up a bit.

Beyond the advantages I’ve described already, you also have the freedom to use any combination of nuts, seeds, and dried fruits you’d like. There’s about a million ways you can go, and I expect to hear about any particularly brilliant combinations. I hope you give these a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 12 Chocolate Energy Bars:
2 cups chopped, pitted Medjool dates
2 cups raw cashews
1 cup raw or roasted unsalted almonds
3/4 cup high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Guittard Cocoa Rouge)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 to 2 tablespoon cold espresso coffee or water,
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or 1/4 teaspoon fine salt)
very small pinch cayenne

35 comments:

Kennapop3 said...

Maybe a small amount of Chia seeds a now popular health ingredient.

Toni Baloney said...

With only 6,872 calories per bite, what could possibly wrong with these? Seriously, I'll be making these tomorrow, even though my only source for Medjool dates is a grocery store with a parking lot full of pick-ups.

Must love sailing said...

Can't wait to try these.

Unknown said...

Where's the instructions? I'd like to print it out to have with me when I go to make it. Thanks.

KikiLove said...

I've been making these for a few years and can certify their divine goodness. If you have nut allergies, sunflower and/or other seeds are a serviceable replacement. You can also play around with grain additives like bran, rolled oats and the like. I often add other dried fruits as well--Turkish apricots and flaked coconut make a good variation. Refrigerator storage preserves them longer, but they usually don't last long enough to go bad. They're a great alternative to high-priced grain free options like Lara Bars. Rolling the mix into balls also makes for a fun snack for kids, for some weird reason.

Rafael Dourado said...

Hi Chef,

Could you do a recipe of a protein bar as well?

paul232 said...

So if anyone is wondering, the calories per bar come down to

330 per bar.

22g of Fat
8.3g of Protein
29.85g of Carbs

Many of the carbs are from Fibre, making it a quite nutritious and relatively healthy bar as all ingredients (minus coconut oil) are very nutritious and healthy themselves.

Taira Rider said...

Are there any alternatives to coconut oil for us allergic folk? :)

Nathan Heafner said...

the only person you would be hurting is yourself - by toasting the cashews you are losing some of the potential, some of the nutrients compared to using them raw ... arguably in this scenario for only a very modest gain in flavor.

jakub dunaj said...

Hey Chef,
great recipe! Could you please write down, how long will they last in fridge/freezer? Thanks a lot.

Brandon said...

Sweet! Can the same sort of process be done to make granola bars?

Zachary Hammer said...

Aw yeah! I was always wondering how to make these so sticky without drenching them in some sort of oil. I wonder who wishes this...

LT said...

Hi Chef,

What's the purpose of the coconut? Can we leave it out or use a substitute? Thanks.

Raphael Godoy said...

Hello Chef John,

What's the shelf life once they are stored in the fridge...?
:)

Clavi said...

Hi, I would like to make this bars, but currently I don't own a food processor and I don't think I can get one any time soon. Will it work if I just use my blender? Or any other tips to do it without the processor could be helpful :)

Mmmmmmmmm said...

Mine are in the fridge now. Very delicious! (What? You expected me to wait until they were ready? It's chocolate, there will be no waiting.)
I added cocoa nibs, because I had them, and they are chocolate. My almonds were not roasted, I'm lazy and when there is chocolate in my near future roasting almonds is not a priority.
Didn't use water or coffee, just added a few more dates. Why anyone would put coffee in chocolate I will never understand, but to each their own I guess.

Anthony M Falbo said...

Love this recipe - Always enjoyed the versatile recipes that beg you to get creative. Going to try Peanut Butter or even Wasabi in a few of these attempts!

tball74 said...

Hey John, loving those energy bars!!! Quick question: How long will they keep out of the fridge when wrapped in parchment paper or saran wrap? I'm doing a six-day hike very soon and would love to take some bars with me ;o)

Sevie Breaux said...

Clavi,

You could crush up the nuts by putting them in a plastic bag/mortar (Mortar may crush them too finely though) and hit them with a meat hammer/pedestal. You can mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl by hand or using a stand/hand mixer. It may take a little longer to come together and you would want to scrap down the sides a few times to ensure it gets thoroughly combined. Best of luck!

Andrew Ghazi said...

Chef John,

Is there anything you could use to coat the bars with to make them less sticky when held? Maybe finely processed oats or something? I'm not sure if that would stay stuck on.

Regards,
Andrew Ghazi

PolgB said...

A tip for people who have small food processor like me: process the nuts first to your desired texture, and after that, mix it with all the ingredients in a bowl. You can now blend your energy bars in portions, and finish like you would normally do.

Deniz Uz said...

To one of the posters above, maybe you can try coating the bars in more crushed nuts? Almost powder-fine, at that. It'll give them some crunch too.

I'd like to know what we can substitute for coconut oil as well. If the fat's not absolutely necessary, can I use (grape) molasses? And I think I'll use hazelnuts in place of cashews, I don't really like those. Goes well with the chocolate theme.

BatShit Gracey said...

I just made these. I didn't have anymore coconut oil :( but I used peanut butter instead and it seems to work juuust fine. They are pretty good.

Chris K. said...

...so do you own two fridges or did you recently do some deep cleaning? I never have THAT much room in my fridge.

Joe Eoj said...

Any Canadians here hip to a place Guittard Cocoa Rouge could be ordered for a decent price?

Alex Mojcher said...

Hey Chef John, what size food processor do you have? And do you mind sharing the brand? I am looking to purchase and want something reliable for long-term use

rodentraiser said...

Hmmm....I love chocolate, but I can't stand cashews, dates, coffee, or coconut. So where does that leave me?

Yeah, I know. Throw some sugar in the cocoa can and eat it with a spoon. *sigh*

Still and all, I might try this without the above mentioned items and see what happens.

Sean Alesi said...

You are the czar of your bar

Moonshines said...

chef john i love you .. what you do is awesome. the recipes and happy narrations and all that for free. You have the perfect homemade recipes and i know that even the best cooks among us would pay for your recipes. I am studying medicals so i dont have time to cook all the recipes plus in India i dont find most of ingredients like Strawberry, heavy cream, brown sugar etc. Still when i get married i really want to cook the recipes for my kids and in laws to impress them.i even told my friends about your videos and they love it. Is there any other way i could promote you?

LOve from India

Peter Cohen said...

Hi Chef John,

I have Hershey's Special Dark Cocoa Powder already, which is a blend of natural and Dutch process. Do you think it'll be OK?

Thanks.

catzeye14120 said...

i'm allergic to coconut..do you have any options? please & ty

Joel Brothers said...

I've made these several times, in different versions, with regular dates. I added some dried figs for texture, and it came out perfect, every time. These things are way better than the ones you buy.

If you really want a blast, use Special Dark Cocoa. These will make you glow in the dark......

Joel Brothers said...

You can leave the coconut out, if you want.

Jay Reyes said...

What can you substitute dates with?

Joel Brothers said...

Maybe figs, raisins, or currants?