Maybe you’re tired of choking down store-bought energy bars with names like “Macadamia Coffee Butternut Waffle” or “Apple Maple Cranberry Fish Flake.” Or maybe you’re just tired of paying $36.95 for each supplement bar you consume. If so, then you need to seriously reevaluate your eating and shopping practices, because no one should be eating bars with a fruit and fish blend–and that price tag is rather wildly inflated.
Anyway, whether you’re looking for an alternative to the available energy bars for a taste, cost, or dietary purpose or if you’re just looking for a fun culinary project that can indeed give you fuel to burn on your next hike, cycling trip, or whitewater rafting adventure (or if you just need a tasty snack at the office or a convenient meal replacement option during a long road trip) it’s not that hard to make energy bars at home. And the best thing about homemade energy bars? You don’t have to give it some name dripping with pretension like “Chocolate Marshmallow Journey Bar” or “Pure & Pompous Peanut Protein.” On the other hand… maybe that’s the best part of the process…
The Classic: Homemade Granola Bars
There’s plenty to be said for the good ol’ granola bar — you know, the one with dried fruit, chocolate, oats, and more. Right, that one. A good granola bar has plenty of carbohydrates for a lasting energy supply, simple sugars for a quick boost, and a tantalizing taste that people of all ages enjoy. This homemade take on the granola bar can be played around with as you’d see fit — swap the cranberries for blueberries, for example, or add chia seeds for a dose of Omega-3 fatty acids.
What You Need
- 2.5 Cups Rolled Oats
- 0.5 Cups Chopped Nuts (almonds and hazelnuts FTW)
- 0.3 Cup Honey
- 0.25 Cups Butter
- 0.25 Cup Brown Sugar
- Dash of Vanilla Extract
- 0.25 Teaspoon Salt
- 0.5 Cup Chopped Dried Cranberries
- 0.25 Cup Chocolate Bits
What You Do
- Heat that oven to 350 F and coat the inside of a pan with cooking spray (coconut cooking spray works great here).
- Bake the nuts and oats on a separate tray for 10 minutes, then set aside.
- While that stuff bakes, mix butter, honey, vanilla, and sugar in a sauce pan over moderate heat. Cook and stir until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.
- Now mix together all of the ingredients except for the chocolate and mix. Then let everything cool for a while, maybe 20 minutes.
- Now add the chocolate and mix again. Mix well, dammit!
- Spread the mixture out into a pan, creating a uniform layer of granola bar, then chill it all in the fridge for several hours.
- Now cut the sheet into bars and start enjoying homemade granola goodness.
The 2 Ingredient Energy Bar
You read that right: this tasty, energy-rich snack bar is made with just TWO INGREDIENTS. Sort of. See, you could make it with two ingredients, but in fact you’ll probably want to use more like four. Or seven or eight depending on how you look at things. On its face, this bar is made with just dried fruit and nuts, you could absolutely choose just dried cherries and pecans, for example, thus cleaving faithfully to the two ingredient thing. But a better idea is to use a range of nuts including walnuts, almonds, and more, and to opt for a blend of dried fruits with cranberries and raisins and such. Also you should add a pinch of salt and, if you need to change up the flavor, some cinnamon or cocoa powder. OK so here we go with the sort of 2 Ingredient Energy Bar…
What You Need…
- 1 Cup Nuts (mixed)
- 1.5 Cups Dried Fruit (also ideally mixed)
- Those spices and flavors if you want ’em
What You Do…
- Grind the nuts in a food processor until they have broken down into crumbs.
- Add the dried fruit and keep on processing.
- Once the fruit and nut blend sticks together when squeezed, dump it out onto a piece of plastic wrap, place more plastic over the top, and press it down into a sheet of uniform thickness.
- Refrigerate the concoction for about two hours, then cut it into bars. You’re done!
These easy bars will keep ion the fridge for at least two weeks and in the freezer for at least two months. Hooray.
The DIY PB&J Energy Bar
Anyone who says they don’t like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich can go home right now. If they want to. He or she is also welcome to stay here or to go anywhere else as well. In fact, I have to admit that given the choice between a PB&J sandwich and a sandwich made with just peanut butter, I’d take the latter. Oh but these bars? These bars are a different story. The “jam” flavor here comes from dried fruit and the blend of flavors is divine. Eat these for breakfast, a snack, or for fuel when you’re on the go.
What You Need
- 1.5 Cups Dates (pitted and soaked in warm water for 10 minutes prior to use)
- 0.5 Cups Dried Cranberries
- 0.25 Cups Peanut Butter (unsweetened and organic, ideally)
- 0.25 Cups Peanuts
- 0.5 Cups Oats (cooked)
What You Do
- Put everything in a food processor and grind it all together.
- Put that mixture in a pan and flatten it out.
- Chill it for about an hour, then your PB&J slab into bars.
- Keep the bars in the fridge until shortly before you enjoy them which, FYI, you will.