What are we going to eat for breakfast? This was a common question in the middle of the Canadian Icefields during our last big hiking trip. Energy bars are so versatile and perfect for breakfasts or a quick snack, especially when you’re on the go! I was definitely wishing for some homemade energy bars on our trip instead of yet another bowl instant oatmeal (absolutely HATE oatmeal for breakfast, a little weird, I know)! I came home from our trip determined to develop some recipes that are portable and nutritious.
Of all the energy bar flavors I’ve ever tried, chocolate and peanut butter are always my favorites. So… I decided to start with the Chocolate Chip Brownie flavor, like the one from Larabar. No more making oatmeal on a jet-boil stove in the middle of the frozen Canadian tundra for me! And… for the more normal days, they’re a perfect snack when I’m out running errands!
Pulse the walnuts and cocoa powder together in a food processor until coarsely combined.
For the dates:
Make a cut lengthwise and remove the seed. Then, cut each date into quarters lengthwise. Make a final cut crosswise, cutting the quartered strips in half. Scatter the date pieces evenly over the walnut mixture and pulse until the dates are thoroughly combined. Add the vanilla, sea salt, and the water 1 Tablespoon at a time until the mixture becomes like a dough. The final step is to add the chocolate chips and pulse a couple of times to combine.
To form the bars:
Line an 7″x 11″ pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper and press the brownie ‘dough’ as evenly as possible into the pan. I used my small cutting board to press down on the bars to create a smoother surface. If you have one of those handy-dandy mini rolling pins, it would do a much better job!
Since plastic wrap is rather flimsy, it’s easiest to get the bars out of the pan with two people lifting. That way you can hold all 4 corners and the bars stay intact. Don’t worry if you break them, you can easily pat them back together.
Let me know if you’re interested in more energy bar flavors!
- 3 cups walnuts, 11ounces
- 5 Tablespoons cocoa powder
- 10 medjool dates, pitted
- a pinch of sea salt
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2-3 Tablespoons water
- ¼ cup mini chocolate chips (I used the Enjoy Life brand)
- Place the walnuts and cocoa powder in a food processor and process until combined but some bigger pieces remain.
- Cut the dates into quarters lengthwise, and then cut the strips in half crosswise.
- Scatter the dates over the top of the walnut mixture, add the sea salt, vanilla, and pulse to combine.
- When the dates are combined, the energy bars will start to come together. Add the water 1 Tablespoon at a time until the bars come together as a slightly sticky ‘dough’.
- Line a 7″ x 11″ pan with plastic wrap or parchment paper and press the ‘dough’ in by hand. I used a small cutting board to press down over the top of the bars to create a smoother surface.
- Lift the bars out of the pan, this is easier with parchment paper. For plastic wrap, it’s easier to lift out of the pan with two people, that way you can hold all 4 corners as you lift it out.
- Cut the bars into the size you would like. I cut mine into 16 small bars for snacks. If I was taking them hiking, I would make them into 8 bars for a bigger snack.
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