No Bake Energy Date Bars

no bake energy bars or ballsFans of Larabars – this is for you! I always have a Chocolate Coconut Chew Larabar stashed in my purse (and I buy them by the case because they’re my favourite), so I decided to replicate them for use at home and in the kids’ lunches. They actually prefer this homemade energy date bar variety because it’s a softer, chewier texture than the original! Consider this a no bake base recipe to be easily modified to include whatever flavours and additions strike your fancy. 

medjool dates for no bake energy barsEnergy date bars (or energy balls) often use medjool dates as a base. They’re naturally sweet, naturally sticky (they’re the glue holding the stuff together!) and bind nicely. Medjool dates are soft and easy to work with in a food processor, and readily available at Costco and other grocery stores. They look like big, wrinkly raisins and often come in a 2lb carton. They’re high in fibre, with good amounts of potassium and magnesium. If you think you hate dates, try these before giving up.

Ready to make your own no bake energy date bar of deliciousness?

No Bake Date Bar Ingredients:

10 medjool dates, pitted
¼ cup hemp seeds (swap with another seed if you don’t have hemp seeds, but hemp hearts are readily available at Costco too)
¼ cup unsweetened coconut
1-2 Tbsp cocoa powder, depending on how chocolatey you like it
¼ tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt

hemp hearts


medjool dates for energy bars
This is a double batch – 20 pitted dates in this picture!

Pit dates. I do this with my fingers, simply squishing the date open and pulling out the pit.

Add all ingredients to a food processor. Whirl until the dates are no longer whole, and the whole thing binds into a ball. If the mixture isn’t combining add a tiny bit of liquid (water will do), and whirl again. If the mixture seems overly wet and gooey add a small amount of something dry (more hemp seeds or coconut, or consider flax seeds or chia seeds). The wetness of the dates will affect this step. If you aren’t sure, try to roll some of the dough into a ball. It should hold its form but not make a mess of your hands.

whirled until the dates clump together

Form the dough into whatever shape works for you. If these are for kids remember that presentation can make or break it! If they won’t eat energy bars try quarter-sized balls. I often press these into mini silicone loaf pans and then later slice them for use in lunches, but pressing into silicone mini muffin tins also works, or any food storage container will do. Pressing into a patty on a plate and cutting it up pizza-style might be interesting, although harder to pack in lunch containers. My kids once had great fun making their initials out of the dough, but that’s not very practical either.

double batch of date bars pressed into mini loaf pans

Store in the fridge or freezer. Separate layers with a piece of parchment or wax paper to avoid them sticking together.

No Bake Date Bars
Click on the image to open in a new window to save or print.

No Bake Date Bar Flavour Ideas:

Experiment with other flavour suggestions and additions, but chop things small so they incorporate more easily into the date dough. Some ideas are:

Dried Fruit:
Currants, cranberries, blueberries, cherries, grated lime zest (really – try it!)

Pumpkin seeds (pepitas), chia seeds, sunflower seeds

Cinnamon, chili, nutmeg

Chopped cashews, pecans, almonds, peanuts, walnuts, or hazelnuts would all go marvellously well with chocolate. Be mindful of nut allergies of course.

This recipe contains cocoa powder for a chocolate flavour but chocolate chips would work for extra chocolatey goodness. White chocolate chips might be interesting too.

If you find an especially delicious flavour combination please leave it here as a comment. I’m always looking for inspiration and ideas!

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Jen Shapka

A mom of two, military spouse, domestic engineer, and former teacher (B.Sc., B.Ed.), she has always found herself in the education field but rarely in the classroom.

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