One of my goals this year is experimenting in the kitchen with the idea of food as fuel. I’m asking my body to do things it’s never done (hill repeats, intervals, moving faster than a snail’s pace) and I’d like to make sure I’m doing everything I can to help it succeed. I’m not a picky eater, I like to stuff my face with all the food, but unfortunately not all the food makes my body happy.
I thought I’d start my experimenting with something that sounded simple, and it doesn’t get much simpler than no-baking. After researching online and finding endless possibilities, I decided to throw something together with what we already had on hand: dried cherries, dates, shredded coconut, flaxseed and almonds.
1. Spread the almonds out in a single layer, and toast at 350F for 12-15 minutes. When they’re done, the almonds will get darker in color, and smell toasty and delicious. (Sidenote: that’s my expensive pizza stone I bought right before the Mr. and I got off our our homemade pizza kick #failsauce)
2. While the almonds are toasting, combine the dried cherries, dates, coconut flakes and flaxseed in a food processor.
3. When the almonds are toasted, remove and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Add them to the food processor.
4. Start processing!
5. Realize that you crammed the food processor just a little too full, and remove half of the mixture. Continue food processing in batches, a few minutes for each batch. Keep an eye on the dried fruit as it tends to clump together. The consistency of the mixture will become slightly sticky with small bits of nuts. It’s okay if some of the bits are larger than others, because all the bits are delicious.
6. Line a pyrex dish or baking tray with parchment paper, and empty the mixture into the tray. Press the mixture down flat, creating a level layer.
7. Chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. I left them in for 2 hours and they came out firm and easy to cut. I portioned them into 16 small squares, and promptly popped one in my mouth. I was not disappointed…tasty!
8. I portioned out half for the freezer, and half for the refrigerator. I put parchment paper between bars to more easily separate them and grab individual bars as needed. The longer they’re out of the fridge before you eat them, the gooier they’ll get.
What I’d do differently: Find a way to work more protein into the bars. Add more flaxseed, probably a 1/2 cup total. For a stronger coconut flavor, I’d up the amount of shredded coconut to a 1/2 cup.
When I’d eat these: During a hike, before or after a long run, as a snack when I’m craving a large cookie, on a random Tuesday afternoon. The dried fruit puts them on the sweet side so they also work as a healthier dessert option.
Cherry Almond Coconut Energy Bars
- 1 cup dates, pitted
- 1 cup dried cherries
- 1 cup almonds, toasted or raw
- 1/4 cup coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened per taste
- 1/4 cup flaxseed
Toast almonds. Combine all ingredients in food processor. Process for 2-5 minutes, until consistency is sticky and well mixed. Press mixture into a parchment-lined tray, creating a level layer. Chill for 1-2 hours, cut into desired portions and enjoy!
Nutrition Info for 1 bar, 16 servings total (using online calculator): Calories 130, Fat (g) 5.9, Carbohydrates (g) 18.25, Protein (g) 2.8
What’s your favorite brand of energy bar?
Do you ever make homemade ones?