Easy No-Bake Energy Bars

April 24, 2016

First of all, I should tell you a little bit about Milo, since I mentioned him last week but didn't go into any detail. If you have no idea who Milo is, or you're just looking for the recipe, scroll right on down. 

Milo wasn't adopted, but taken back to the humane society. A couple we know and their children wanted to adopt him, but the manager at the shelter told them they wouldn't be allowed to adopt for no reason other than because she didn't want them to. Her behaviour towards them was absolutely terrible. This same manager has been telling volunteers that I was refusing to bring Milo back for over a month when she had called multiple times asking me to bring him back - we only had him for about six weeks. I checked my phone records to make sure and she called once to tell me that a space was going to open up for him at the end of the week, and then once more to say that he had to go back the following day (when I did bring him back, obviously). Apparently I'm a terrible foster-er and won't be allowed to foster or adopt through that agency in the future. As if I'm willing to deal with her in any capacity after this. I was appalled to hear that she'd been slandering me in that way - if that's how people who want to foster and adopt are treated, it's no wonder there are animals that have been there for six plus years. Ridiculous.

I've been upset about the whole thing since it happened, especially about her treatment of my friends who wanted to adopt. The shelter is overflowing with animals. I know that Milo isn't going to be hurt there, but he is in a much smaller space, and may not be adopted for a significant amount of time. It also still says on their site that he's female. We've been talking to lots of other people who said they were turned down for adoption for truly ridiculous reasons - when there have been pets stuck there for years, and people really want to adopt them. I'm pissed that we wanted to help and that the manager there was so inexcusably rude. 

Maybe I shouldn't be talking about this at length here, but people have been asking me what happened to Milo, and this is what happened. I'm leaving lots of things out but I think it'd be good to move on to the recipe before I start to feel sad about it again. 

With summer coming up soon, I wanted to make a simple no-heat-needed energy bar that we could take on hikes, or camping, or just carry around as a snack. I don't want to turn the oven on, but I also want a bar that's not going to melt in my bag when it's hot out. Some days get up to 40C or higher during Manitoba summers (that's 104F for all you non-metric pals). I left a couple of these out at about 25C, and they were totally fine, so I think they'll hold up pretty well during travel. I've been storing them in the fridge and like them best cold, though. We've had a stretch of chilly days lately but I still really like the convenience of not having to bake these.

The bars are made with oats, seeds, and coconut (and chocolate!). They're held together with coconut oil, apple sauce, and dates. No sugar, no flour, no eggs. You could easily change up the add-ins here and make them into nutty bars, or add some dried fruit - whatever floats your boat. Graham said they were almost buttery tasting and kept eating them when I was trying to take pictures. I've also used sumac, and I love the tangy citrus flavour it gave them. 

This has quickly become one of my favourite recipes and is taking the top spot over these in my granola bar rotation. I was so proud of those pictures when I posted that recipe. Things have changed around here! 

If you don't mind a granola bar that needs to stay cold, take a peek at the double chocolate raw protein bars.

Makes about 12 bars

2 cups quick-cook oats*
1/2 cup puffed millet
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips*
1 teaspoon ground sumac*
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 cup soft medjool dates, pitted
Optional 1/4 cup melted chocolate for topping

Line a baking pan with parchment paper (I used a 9x13 inch pan). Because you're not baking these, any size of pan will work.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, millet, chia, sunflower seeds, pepitas, coconut, chocolate chips, sumac, and salt.

Mash the dates with a food processor or fork. Add the coconut oil, apple sauce, and dates to the oat mixture. Use your hands to mix it together very well. You'll be there all day if you try to use a wooden spoon.

Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan. Wet your hands and try to press it down as evenly as possible, or use one of these

Refrigerate the tray for at least thirty minutes before cutting into bars. Top with the extra chocolate now, if you're using it. Store in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for three months. 

1. I haven't tried this recipe with rolled oats yet because they haven't been available at the supermarkets for the past couple of weeks. I'll update the recipe when we can buy them again.
2. The sunflower seeds, pepitas, shredded coconut, and chocolate chips can be changed out for whatever you'd like. 
3. If you don't have sumac, substitute cinnamon or your preferred spice.

PS - I finally installed the yummly button! See below to share more easily on yummly.

6 comments on "Easy No-Bake Energy Bars"
  1. They look great. Shredded coconut in there sounds tasty, thanks for the idea

  2. Mmm, these look wonderful. One of my favorite bakeries in Portland makes bars with puffed millet, which I love! I'm excited to try using this ingredient at home!

    1. Thanks, Hannah! Hooray! I love puffed millet, and it's so much less expensive than puffed quinoa.

  3. Reading about Milo makes me so sad, for you, him, your friends and the system. Why oh why have their been animals there for years?? It's hard to let that kind of frustration go.. and it makes me wonder about the person in charge there. Are decisions being made in the best interest of the animals? I'm so sorry to hear about this.

    This recipe is just perfect. I'm a big fan of grab and go whole foods. They always come in handy when 3:00 rolls around or a last minute hike is in order! I've never seen puffed millet... but I need to make more of an effort to look for it. Love that chocolate drizzle! xo hugs and love to you..

    1. That's just it - it doesn't seem like the manager is thinking solely about the animals, which is so upsetting.

      Thank you! We really enjoy these bars, and I think they'll be a regular this summer (it's going to be 30C this week already!). I get mine online, but there is one store that sells it here. I'm sure puffed quinoa would work just as well if you can find that, though. Hehe chocolate makes everything better! Thank you, sweet lady. <3