by the dirty hippie and bohemian girl

My friend Brooke makes these incredible energy/snack bars. They really do rival anything you can buy at a grocer or at the farmer’s market. And besides, the energy bars they sell at our farmer’s market are $4 each. The ones at the health food store range from $2 to $6 – each! Making your own is a smart way to go.

This recipe is great when you are running errands, need a pick-me-up at school or work, or just because it’s the holidays and you’re going 50 directions at once and a nutritious snack is required. We love-love-love how she makes them, however the beautiful thing about this recipe is how flexible it is. It’s almost more like a formula – you can swap out the peanut butter or almond butter for sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, soy nut butter or even chocolate hazelnut butter. Like different nuts or seeds? Change the pecans and hazelnuts to pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, walnuts, almonds or macadamias. The same is true for the dried fruit and the protein powder flavors. You can do a chocolate bar – just use chocolate protein powder, chocolate cereal and chocolate nut butter. Yum!

Brooke stores the bars in the freezer, wrapped in parchment. Then you can grab a few whenever you are on the go. The recipe is vegan and gluten free as written. It makes about 24 bars.

My friend Brooke makes these incredible energy/snack bars. They really do rival anything you can buy at a grocer or at the farmer’s market. And besides, the energy bars they sell at our farmer’s market are $4 each. The ones at the health food store range from $2 to $6 – each! Making your own is a smart way to go.

This recipe is great when you are running errands, need a pick-me-up at school or work, or just because it’s the holidays and you’re going 50 directions at once and a nutritious snack is required. We love-love-love how she makes them, however the beautiful thing about this recipe is how flexible it is. It’s almost more like a formula – you can swap out the peanut butter or almond butter for sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, soy nut butter or even chocolate hazelnut butter. Like different nuts or seeds? Change the pecans and hazelnuts to pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, peanuts, walnuts, almonds or macadamias. The same is true for the dried fruit and the protein powder flavors. You can do a chocolate bar – just use chocolate protein powder, chocolate cereal and chocolate nut butter. Yum!

Brooke stores the bars in the freezer, wrapped in parchment. Then you can grab a few whenever you are on the go. The recipe is vegan and gluten free as written. It makes about 24 bars.

Brooke’s Cranberry & Nut Energy Bars

  • 3/4 cup pitted dates
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 cups toasted rice or “oat-o” cereal
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
  • 3/4 cup dried cherries, quartered
  • 1 cup Chai VeganSmart
  • 1/2 cup flax seed meal
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
  • 3/4 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, combine pitted dates with warm water. Set aside to soften dates.

On a 15×10 cookie sheet with an edge, combine rolled oats, chopped hazelnuts, chopped pecans and cereal. Toast in the oven for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  When done, remove from oven.

While the nuts and cereals toast, combine dried cranberries, chopped dried apricots, quartered dried cherries, protein powder, flax seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir to coat the fruit, it will be sticky. When the nut and cereal mix is done toasting in the oven, add to this fruit mixture and fold to combine. Set aside.

In a blender or food processor, add the dates and a little of the soaking water. Puree until dates become a smooth paste, adding water 1 teaspoon at a time if necessary to make the dates creamy.

Add pureed dates, almond butter, peanut butter, brown rice syrup and vanilla to a medium saucepan. Stir constantly over medium heat until nut butters are liquid-y and mixture is smooth and silky. Pour into bowl with other waiting ingredients and using a sturdy wooden spoon, fold to combine. This step is a bit of a workout, and may take a few minutes for the dry ingredients to really come together with the wet.

Line your 15×10 cookie sheet with parchment paper and pour energy bar mixture onto the sheet. Press flat, using entire cookie sheet. It will be full to the edges. Once pressed flat, slide into the freezer to set for 15 to 20 minutes.

Cut into 24 bars (or smaller if you wish!) and wrap in parchment paper pieces. We use “If You Care” brand parchment paper, which is compostable and non-bleached. Store energy bars in the freezer and take them out as needed. If you allow to thaw at room temperature for about 5 minutes, they are ready to eat.

Loved this recipe? Try these Protein Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes next!

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