Almond Joy Energy Bars

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Almond Joy Energy Bars

A Craving

Dates

“Let’s get it over and the door closed shut on it! Let’s close it like a book and go on reading! New chapter, new life.”

East of Eden, John Steinbeck

Inspiration

I’m floating into the New Year. Just going to let it happen. Not swimming against the tide, not pushing against the closed doors, not going to deny the passage of time. Making a commitment to move on—no loads of heavy thoughts or remorse over unmet goals. It’s new territory and I’m happy to have an invitation to attend the opening ceremony. This year was consumed with loss and I am ready for change. I crave a new beginning.

Some of us snack all day, others at night. Mid to late afternoon is my time. I crave something sweet and buttery, salty too. But if I ate cookies, cakes or pastries every day my weight would spiral out of control and I would also gain the medical problems of the obese. My favorite snacks are a crisp apple, six Wheat Thins with a scoop of almond butter and these Almond Joy Energy Bars. When I must have something sweet these energy bars satisfy my craving. A boost of vegan protein from the almonds keeps me energized through the afternoon.

Essentials

This recipe pushes the capacity limit of my 14 cup food processor. It fills a 9”x12” baking pan, making 24 bars. I like that. I can make a batch of homemade snack bars that will last two adults for almost two weeks, or longer if we don’t eat them every day. Making the recipe is quick, the food processor does all the work. Pressing the mixture into bars of an even thickness and wrapping them individually takes the most time. It is time well spent. When my afternoon craving for sweets and chocolate demand attention, I have something ready.

Energy Bar prep

Energy Bar prep

The recipe is gluten free and raw, imparting a fresh clean taste and texture to the Almond Joy Energy Bars. They are just sweet enough from the dates and coconut and laced with chocolate to evoke the classic candy bar, Almond Joy. After processing, the bar ingredients should hold together, without crumbling, when pressed between two fingers. If it does not, add another tablespoon or two of almond butter, and process again. This will depend on the viscosity of the almond butter and the moistness of the dates.

Ingredients
2C raw almonds
14-16 dates, pitted (170 grams of pitted dates)
1/2C + 2T almond butter, warmed
1/2t fine grain sea salt
1T cocoa powder
2t almond extract
1C coconut flakes, unsweetened
1C semi-sweet chocolate chunks or chips
2C puffed rice cereal, unsweetened (I use this, it is gluten free.)
24 raw almonds for garnish (optional)

Almond Joy Energy Bars

  1. Use two pieces of parchment to line a 9”x12” baking pan, one the length of the pan and another the width of the pan. Cut the paper long enough to fold over the sides the pan. Using a pan with square coroners will result in more even sized bars.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor process the almonds until they are chopped. Leaving several large pieces is fine. Add the dates and process again until there are no visible pieces of dates. If the mixture stays on one side of the bowl, stop the machine, break up the clump and process again.
  3. Add the almond butter, sea salt and cocoa powder, process until throughly mixed. Pour the almond extract through the feed tube while the processor is running. If the mixture stays on one side of the bowl, stop the machine, break up the clump and process again. Add the coconut flakes and chocolate chunks and pulse until the chocolate is finely chopped and integrated into the mixture. Add the puffed rice and pulse just until mixed. Stop and scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl between processing. The mixture should hold together, without crumbling, when pressed between two fingers. If it does not, add a tablespoon of almond butter and process again.
  4. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Spread evenly, pressing down firmly to compact the mixture into bars. Use a small off-set spatula, stiff rubber scraper or pastry roller to press the mixture firmly into the pan. Take extra care to press down around the edges of the pan. When ready, the bars will no longer have a dull appearance. A shiny surface will develop as the mixture is pressed down into the pan.
  5. Chill the bars for at least 2 hours before cutting. Transfer the chilled slab from the pan to a cutting surface using the parchment paper as handles. If a 9×12 baking pan was used, the slab can be cut into 24 bars. Cut the width into 4, 3” strips. Then cut the 3” pieces into 1-1/2” wide bars. Wiggle the knife to separate the slab into bars when cutting. If garnishing the bars with almonds, gently but firmly place an almond in the center of each bar, using a dab of warm almond paste to adhere the almond to the bar. Don’t press down with too much force, the bars are still cold and will crack. Wrap the bars individually for a healthy grab-and-go snack.

Wrapping Energy Bars

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37 Responses to Almond Joy Energy Bars

  1. Lynda says:

    I will happily ring in the new year with this recipe. Luscious and healthy at once. Best wishes to you for 2015!

  2. I’m with you – I didn’t accomplish my goals in 2014 but OH WELL – It’s time for a new year ~ let’s see what it brings us!

    Speaking of, I hope it brings me some these bars! They look so healthful and delicious – I can’t wait to make them!

    • Deb says:

      Love your candor Natalie! I accomplished some of my goals, some I don’t even care about anymore. What a difference a year makes! Thank you taking the time to stop by and comment.

  3. Gerlinde says:

    I wish I had your almond bars to ring in the new year here in Germany. They look so healthy. 2015 will also be the first year for me without my mother, it will be a year of transformation .

  4. I’m so ready for the new year too, these bars are the perfect afternoon pick me up!

  5. Cathy says:

    Those bars do look and sound good! They should get the year off to a good start for you – Happy New Year Deb!

  6. Wow! These bars look beyond delish and much, much healthier than the real almond joy bars from the supermarket. Their presentation is very creative. Love the first pic! Happy New Year, Deb!

  7. Carol Sacks says:

    Deb, what a brilliant recipe. What a creative way to kick off the year and inspire your friends and readers. Happy New Year to you!

  8. I love raw bars too, and these look fabulous. And I adore your little roller – so cute! On a more serious note I hope that 2015 brings you some much deserved peace and happiness. I really do. All best xx

  9. Wish you a very happy new year

  10. mjskit says:

    Happy 2015!!! Hope you floated into a great new year beginning! A great recipe to end one year and start a new one. Love the ingredients and can see me eating one of these to start each day!

  11. Deb, these look like a fantastic little energy-packed stopgap between meals. Thanks for sharing your recipe. I wish you all the good luck and happiness you can find in this coming year.

  12. valentina says:

    I’m one of those people with a constant sweet tooth – my sweet cravings are 24/7. I will absolutely try these! Your food styling, as always, is beautiful. 🙂

  13. Jacquee says:

    I MUST give these a try! Sound like the perfect on-the-go snack/treat. Happy New Year to you, Deb!!

  14. Deb, I’ve never been a big ‘goal setter’. I guess the benefit in that is I’m not disappointed in myself at the end of the year for not reaching set goals. However, I did set a goal for the coming year. Less social media. So far, so good.

    As for these energy bars – they speak to me – loudly! Almond Joys are one of my favorite candy bars. As a child, I was always pleased when they made an appearance in my Trick or Treat bag. This healthier version is the perfect answer to mornings on the go.

    • Deb says:

      Happy New Year Mary! I always loved Almond Joy Bars too. But now I very rarely indulge in them. The Almond Joy Bars are a wonderful alternative. I didn’t set any concrete goals this year either. I’m just happy to be here!

  15. I’ll be honest with you – most raw treats look anything but…. these however… well joy is the best description…. they sound absolutely gorgeous. Happy 2015

  16. Patty says:

    Ready or not the New Year is up and running! A delicious bar for energy is a great way to portion out the snacks…I need that help 😉
    Especially love anything with roasted almonds, dates are up there too!
    Your bars and photos are gorgeous..love the inspiration 🙂

  17. Pingback: Michael Chiarello’s Energy Bars — in medias recipe - Santa Barbara, California food blog with a focus on Farmers Market cooking

  18. Totally living for the absolutely adorable packaging and the prep photos! Love this idea 🙂

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