I can recall ubiquitous labeled 'energy bars' everywhere in the 90s. It seemed like they popped up in all shapes, sizes, flavors or non. I also recall most them making me want to gag. They were full of healthy ingredients, but a little too healthy that you wondered why they didn't just call it a multi-vitamin bar instead.
That being said, I've never been a big fan of Luna bars or crunchy granola bars. What was left was soft, yet sugar filled granola bars. All of them lacked various components. When I think about an energy bar, I don't want to see sugar on the label, or carob, alfalfa or cooked so long that it chips a tooth. Luckily, I married a man who agrees with me on all accounts, which is probably why he found Great Harvest Bread's energy bar stellar. It was chewy, a bit moist, but not crumbly, rounded flavor and filling. Everything an energy bar should behold.
Here are the ingredients in order on the G.H.B.'s energy bar: rolled oats, dates, natural peanut butter, honey, almonds, oat bran, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, vanilla & sea salt. Of course, we don't know how much, but that's what my job is--right?! I cracked a code and came up with a pretty darn close replica. I used a full 6 cups in this recipe, but after baking them, I think 5 cups would have been better. I had planned on using 1 1/2 cups of peanut butter, but only used 1 cup. If I had used 1 1/2 cups, then the 6 cups of oats might not have been a problem. But enough with what I did--go on and make them and let me know what you think. They're sure to be a hit and be gone more quickly than you can make them.
Energy Bars(printable recipe)
These are great to tie you over and quite filling. If you're vegan, then try using maple syrup or agave nectar. If you have a peanut/tree nut allergy, you could always use sunbutter.
5 - 6 cups; 17.5 - 21 oz; 500-600 grams rolled oats
2 1/4 cups; 8 1/2 oz; 236 grams medjool dates (seeds out)
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup; 8 oz; 226 grams natural smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup; 6 oz; 170 grams honey
3/4 cup; 3.5 oz; 100 grams almonds
1/2 cup; 2.5 oz; 65 grams oat bran
1/4 cup; 1.25 oz; 34 grams whole wheat flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp kosher salt
Soak your pitted dates in a bowl with the hot water and cover with a plate for about 10 minutes. Drain the water and dump dates into a food processor. Puree it up. You will need to scrap the sides occasionally. Add the peanut butter to the dates and puree again. While the machine is running, add about 1/3 of the honey (save the rest for later). The mixture will clump into a ball and that's okay. Remove as much of the date mixture into a small bowl--set aside. Put in the almonds and pulse at 3 second intervals until they are coarsely chopped.
In a large bowl, combine 5 cups (or 500 g or 17.5 ounces) of rolled oats, leaving the additional 1 cup of oats aside, oat bran, w.w. flour, almonds & salt. Mix it all up.
Put the date puree mixture into the rolled oats bowl. Add the vanilla now & using your hands, begin to mix the ingredients altogether. This will take a bit to incorporate the oats into the date puree. You want the oats to be completely bound by the date mixture. Go ahead and add the rest of the honey to help soak more of the oats & bind it all together--mix some more.
Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and press mixture into the pan. You will want them to be about 3/4 inch thick.
Bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. The underside of the bars will have more of the toasty look. (You can cut them and turn them over & bake for an additional 5 minutes) Cut them into squares (or bars). Serves about 12-15.