Until recently I’ve been using a small, 4-cup food processor – similar to a Magic Bullet – for all my processing needs. This was mainly because 1) I’m cheap and 2) the space in my tiny kitchen is limited. This mini-appliance was working quite well for me (other than having to constantly make things in small batches) until one day I tried to pulse some dates together to make these energy bars and the thing literally started smoking.
My house smelled like burnt rubber for days.
I was gifted a heavy duty food processor by my in-laws for my upcoming birthday – thanks J & E!! – and let me just say, it just might be the most amazing contraption I have in my kitchen. I don’t know how I survived so long without one. I’ve been making pestos and sauces in no time flat, and while the thing is a bit of a beast to clean, it really makes my life so much easier.
These energy bars are a snap to make in a food processor, and I’ve been making them constantly, being sure to have some in my fridge at all times.
My obsession started when Finn posted these lovely Raw Mint Chocolate Energy Balls back in January. I made a few batches, and damn. So good, and ridiculously easy. They’re perfect for a boost of energy when you hit that mid-day slump, or before a workout.
I began experimenting with different ingredients and flavour combinations. I knew I wanted something similar to my favourite peanut butter and chocolate Clif Bar, but without the $3/bar price tag. Something I could snack on after a workout or during a long hike that would fill me up until my next meal.
These bars are definitely more substantial, packed with tons of healthy ingredients that you won’t even realize you’re eating. Dates, peanuts, chocolate, dried cranberries, chia seeds, rolled oats… simply toss it all in the food processor and pulse away.
Matt compared the taste and texture of these to that of an Eat More bar, but actually good for you. This was quite a compliment, because Eat More bars were one of my favourites growing up.
For my first few versions of these bars, I added the chocolate chips to the food processor with all the other ingredients instead of drizzling it over top. It tastes just as yummy and is a bit less work, so don’t be afraid to try it that way. I ended up drizzling the chocolate over top mainly because it looks pretty 🙂
One of the greatest things about these bars is that they’re no-bake. Once you’ve mixed all the ingredients together, simply press firmly into an 8×8-inch baking pan and refrigerate until firm. You can store them in the fridge (for a firmer bar) or at room temperature (for a softer bar). I prefer mine kept in the fridge, but that’s just a personal preference.
Like I said, these are great to eat when you’re starving after a workout. They’re so hearty and filling! I take these on hikes with me for the perfect snack and they keep me going until I can sit down for dinner.
The only problem is they taste like candy bars, and it’s too hard to just eat one.
|Chocolate & Peanut Butter Energy Bars with Cranberries & Oats|| |
- 1 cup unsalted peanuts
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 2½ cups dried Medjool dates, pitted (about 15)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup rolled oats
- 2 Tbsp chia seeds (optional)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips
- Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, letting the edges hang over the sides; set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350. Spread peanuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake about 10 minutes, stirring once, until nuts are fragrant and golden. Cool slightly before continuing with the recipe.
- Combine peanuts, peanut butter, dates, cranberries, oats, chia seeds, and salt in a food processor and pulse until ingredients begin to clump together, scraping down the sides of the bowl if necessary. The mixture does not have to be smooth, but it should stick together when pressed with your fist. Depending on the moisture content of the dates you are using, you may have to add a few more dates. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan. Cover the top with a piece of wax paper and press mixture down firmly.
- Cover the baking pan and refrigerate for at least an hour until bars are firm. Remove from pan (by lifting the sides of parchment paper) and cut into 18 bars.
- Microwave chocolate chips in 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until melted. Transfer to a piping bag and drizzle over the bars. Let sit until chocolate has set.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month, or at room temperature for up to a week.
To make these even easier, simply add the chocolate chips to the food processor with the rest of the ingredients instead of drizzling over top. They taste just as good!