Save money and make your own Larabar-esque energy bars at home – extra protein thanks to hemp hearts!
Hooooray! Remember when I made a semi-ambitious list of cooking resolutions to accomplish in 2015? Check out the rest of the 11 that I aim to tackle this year. One down!
I’d also like to front this story by saying that as I write this, my mom is currently cooking food…for the dog. Yes, Sally the lab now gets boiled chicken, brown rice, and squash for her meals. She eats better than I do!
Granted…this might have been the easiest resolution to accomplish given that it’s not even real cooking. Since I travel so much for work, finding healthy portable foods that I can throw in my bag and forget about in case of a breakfast emergency are really important. But I have to say, beyond protein bars and nuts, there are few and far between! And Larabars and ThinkThin bars and KIND bars are NOT cheap. Also, sometimes I don’t want the full 240 calories that make up one of those bars, sometimes I just want a 100 calorie snack. And there’s no way I’m eating half a Larabar. So I’ve been really inspired to try making my own energy bars with a Larabar-style base and portion them out into the size that I want to snack on. Introducing…Coconut Almond Energy Bars! I wanted a base of almonds and dates. Almonds for fat and protein and texture, dates to bind it all together. And I LOVE dates. I’m starting to realize that I’m all about textures. I love gummy candy and dried fruit, and dates certainly top that list. When I was in Israel and Turkey with Nate, I subsisted off dried dates and figs. For this recipe, I also wanted shredded unsweetened coconut because my love for coconut is undying. And I had visions of this being Almond Joy flavored so I threw in some cocoa powder. And then I wanted more protein, so I used hemp hearts. It was kind of a hodge podge, but I went for it. Pulsed in the food processor and delicious, warming smells filled my kitchen. Who knew? These energy bars smell like HEAVEN.
Once the almonds are finely chopped and the “dough” is starting to cling together in the food processor, remove and roll into a large ball. Cover in saran wrap before using a rolling pin to flatten and cut into bars. If you don’t have the cover in between the saran wrap and the mixture, it might stick to your rolling pin. Which was, in my case, a bottle of wine.
Slice into the bars of your liking! This part is fun and extremely satisfying. You can make these in your size of choice, but mine are about 3 inches long by 1 inch wide. Some are more stubby or long than others. They’re homemade!! Roll up the excess “dough” and re-flatten to cut into more bars. Then you can wrap individually or in pairs in more saran wrap and keep in your fridge. They have great coconut and almond flavor, and the cocoa powder adds a warming spice and depth that doesn’t scream “chocolate!” but makes them more than just your average vegan date-almond mixture. Interested in the nutrition profile on these guys? I certainly was.
80 calories per bar. 3g protein. 2g fiber. 5g fat. Possibly the perfect 3pm snack. Eat a few of these with a banana for a perfect breakfast. Even Grandma approved of them as a DESSERT and I can tell you honestly, she has critiqued my sweets/baked goods before for “not being sweet enough”. The dates and coconut really pack a punch. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do, and I can’t wait to make versions of this base recipe into energy “balls” and keep trying out new flavors. Unlike other of my resolutions in the past (“spend less $$ on taxis”) this might be one of those resolutions that sticks.
- 1 cup raw almonds
- 1 cup chopped, softened dates (use warm water or the microwave)
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 2 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
- Put all ingredients into a food processor
- Pulse on high until the almonds have been finely chopped
- Remove contents from food processor and roll into a ball
- Cover with syran wrap and use a rolling pin to roll into ¼ inch thick layer
- Cut into 3 x 1 inch bars
- Repeat with leftover dough form cutting
- Wrap individually in syran wrap and store in fridge