If you’re looking for a quick and easy no bake energy bar then look no further. With only 7 ingredients, you can whip these up in no time. These energy bars are naturally sweetened with dates, which is a big bonus! Dates are rich in so many vitamins and minerals, not to mention they are a great source of fiber and energy. The subtle zesty orange flavour of these bars and the combination of chocolate and orange is oh so good!
This recipe is something I kind of stumbled on by accident. At the time I started making it, I had a newborn baby and two active under 5 year old boys. I was sleep deprived and in desperate need of something healthy that I could easily grab out of the fridge to give me some much needed energy. With limited time, I knew this recipe had to be raw and it needed to require as little work as possible. Little did I know that almost 2 years later, it is still a household favourite.
Can you substitute any of the ingredients?
If you are avoiding oats for any particular reason, you can most definitely substitute it with almond flour without any trouble.
What about nuts? So many schools are nut-free these days so this energy bar is a wonderful option for lunch boxes. I regularly make them for my boys and use a mix of various seeds. The ratios always change a little depending on what I have in the pantry, but generally I use about 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds and the last third is made up of sesame, chia, flax and hemp seeds. This is just a combination that I like. Feel free to play around to find the combination that you like best.
Does the bar need the chocolate? Absolutely not! The energy bar tastes great as is, so completely skip that step if you’re avoiding chocolate. My husband has a huge sweet tooth and is always looking for chocolatey treats. I have found that adding a little chocolate to the top of this recipe is enough to curb his cravings. If you are going to use chocolate, try using a good quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. This is not only lower in sugar, but higher in antioxidants too. If you’re going to eat chocolate, why not make it healthy and take the guilt out of it?
If orange combined with chocolate is not your cup of tea, you can definitely substitute it for lemon zest, vanilla extract or cinnamon. I often use roughly 10-15 drops of orange essential oil instead of the zest, and it tastes amazing.
Some tips you might find useful.
This really is as easy and as straight-forward as it comes, but here are a few little tips.
- Place the dry ingredients into the food processor first to turn it into a coarse powder. If you have an amazing food processor, this might not be necessary. I find that the nuts and seeds stay very coarse if the dates are added first and the bar tends to break apart more easily in this case.
- If possible, try to use an organic orange for the zest, otherwise the energy bar will be filled with nasty pesticides.
- I find a large lined bread pan works best size for this recipe, but any medium sized square/rectangular dish will do.
- Cut the baking paper a little larger so that you can fold it down to cover the inside of the pan. When pressing the mixture into the pan, you can press down on the baking paper and this will keep your hands nice and clean.
- You can really use any mixture of nuts and seeds, so don’t overthink it and use what you have in your pantry. I generally use a rule of thirds, using only two ingredients for the first 2/3 of the cup. This is generally cashews, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds. The last third can be a mixture of smaller seeds such as chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds and sesame seeds. You can also use just one type of nut or seed. You can’t really get this wrong so just have fun with it.
Please let me know if you tried it and what you thought of it.
Choc Orange Energy Bar
- 1 1/2 cup Dates (Soaked and pitted)
- 1 cup Oats
- 1/2 cup Coconut (shredded or fine)
- 1 cup Seed or nut mixture of choice (Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Cashew Nuts, Almonds and Walnuts all work well)
- 1 Zest of one orange (Can sub with 10-15 drops of orange essential oil)
- 1/2 cup Dark Chocolate
- Soak the dates in a bowl of warm water until they are soft. Place aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
- Add the oats, coconut and nuts/seeds to the food processor and pulse a few times until it forms a course powder.
- Now, add the dates and orange zest to the processor and pulse a few times. You may need to scrape the mixture from the sides halfway through. Blend until the mixture forms a clump or is well combined and sticks together.
- Transfer the mixture to a lined bread pan or dish and smooth it out whilst making sure you compress it tightly. Now place the pan in the freezer for roughly 10 minutes to set.
- The bars taste great just like this, however, why not jazz it up with some chocolate? While the bars cool in the freezer, go ahead and melt the chocolate in a bain marie.
- When the chocolate is fully melted, remove the pan from the freezer and cut into smaller pieces.
- Remove the baking paper from the bread pan and place on top of a plate or small cutting board. Dip each bar into the chocolate and place it on the baking paper with the chocolate side facing up.
- Return it back to the freezer for approximately 10 minutes so that the chocolate can set. When the chocolate has set completely, place them into an airtight container and place them in the fridge to enjoy when required.
- These bars will last about 5-7 days if stored in the fridge. They freeze well too and last approximately 3 months in the freezer.