Yummy Easy Energy Bars

I am a huge fan of chewy, nutty, fruit-filled energy bars made by Larabar but they get expensive 

So here’s my twist. 

So simple. So incredibly delicious 

My favorite is cherries, almonds, and dates (which are pictured here), but you can swap out the cherries and almonds for any dried fruit or nut. 
I also love Blueberry and walnut 
Keep the dates, though. They act as a binder and also sweeten the bars without needing sugar.

Makes 8 large bars or 16 small square-shaped bars
What You Need

Ingredients
1 cup nuts
1 cup dried fruit
1 cup (12-15 whole) pitted dried dates, preferably Medjool

Equipment
Food processor
Plastic wrap or wax paper
Sharp knife

Instructions

1. Roast the nuts (optional). Nuts can be used raw or roasted; roasting will add a toasty, nutty depth to the bars. If desired, roast the nuts at 350°F for 8 minutes, until fragrant and golden. Allow to cool before using.

2. Combine the nuts, dried fruit, and dates in a food processor. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse a few times just to break them up. Separate the dates if they start to clump together.

3. Process continuously for 30 seconds. By this point, the ingredients should all have broken down into crumb-sized pieces. Scrape the edges of the bowl and beneath the blade to make sure nothing is sticking.

4. Process continuously until a ball is formed, 1 to 2 minutes. Continue processing for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the ingredients clump together and gather into a ball.

5. Press into a thick square and chill. Lay a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper on your work surface and dump the dough on top. Press the dough with your hands until it forms a thick square, roughly 8″x8″ in size. Wrap and chill for at least an hour or overnight.

6. Divide into bars. Unwrap the chilled dough and transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 8 large bars or 16 small squares, as desired. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap or wax paper.

7. Store the bars. Store the bars in the fridge for several weeks or in the freezer for up to 3 months. The bars can be eaten straight from the fridge or freezer and will be firm, but chewy. Room-temperature bars are perfectly fine to eat and can be kept in a lunch bag or backpack all day, but will be more soft and paste-like.
* Energy balls: The dough can also be shaped into small balls. Refrigerate until firm, then wrap in plastic for longer storage.

* Try these combinations! Cherry-almond, apricot-almond, cranberry-pecan, apple-cinnamon-walnut

* Try these add-ins! Shredded coconut, chia seeds, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, cocoa powder, crystalized ginger, ground cinnamon, ground cardamom, lemon zest, lime zest

* You are going to live these! Enjoy!!

Here’s a couple more but are not 3 ingredients 
Peanut Butter Energy Bars

INGREDIENTS

* 1 cup Medjool dates pitted

* 1 cup cashews raw

* ¼ cup peanut butter

* 1 tablespoon water

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine dates, cashews, peanut butter and water in a food processor and puree until mixture starts to stick together. Add a little more water if necessary to help mixture come together.

2. Pick up date mixture and using your hands work to squeeze it together into one big clump. Mash it down on a cutting board or sheet of wax paper to form into one even rectangle shape using the sides of your hands (or a knife) to make the edges straight.

3. Slice into 12 even squares. For best results store in the fridge, although bars can be kept at room temperature.

Blueberry Bars
1/2 pounds almonds

1/4 cups sesame seeds

1/4 cups sunflower seeds

1 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cups unsweetened dried cranberries

1 cup dried blueberries (unsweetened)

2/3 cups maple syrup

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

* Preheat an oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking dish.

* Grind the almonds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, and oats in a food processor until they resemble a coarse meal. Stir the ground mixture in a bowl with the cranberries, blueberries, maple syrup, and cinnamon until evenly combined. Moisten your hands with water and press the mixture into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until toasted, about 1 hour until toasted. Cool completely in the baking dish. Cut into 16 bars. Store in an airtight container at room temperature up to 1 week

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