There are certainly a lot of tasty options on the market these days when it comes to energy and snack bars. But I really prefer to make my own if I can, for cost and health reasons. So I’ve been on a bit of a quest to find some reliable bar recipes. My criteria are that they have to be healthy (little to no added sugar or flour, lots of nutritious ingredients), easy to make ahead and freezable, but not melt when they come out of the freezer or fridge (which happens to a lot of raw bars). These are three I’ve found that I love – and they’re all different, which makes for excellent variety. And they’re all vegan, too.
Raw Chocolate-Chia Energy Bars
This recipe’s from Vegetarian Times. Its ingredient list is simple, it relies on dates for sweetening and includes chocolate. Tastes like a chocolate bar, but healthy. I used pumpkinseeds instead of almonds.
Fruit and Nut Energy Bites
This one’s from vegan recipe blog Oh She Glows. I left out the sugar completely – you don’t need it – used coarsely ground pecans instead of walnuts, and raisins instead of cranberries. Oh, and water instead of almond milk.
Vegan Fig Bars
This is a great pick for Fig Newton lovers and really energizing. They do take a bit of prep and a food processor but the result is worth it. Next time I’ll leave out the maple syrup from the filling and I might try and make a slightly larger amount of base/topping as I found it didn’t quite cover the filling.
Not Far From the Tree is a Toronto group that organizes volunteer pickings of residential fruit trees when the owners are unwilling or unable to do it themselves – and you wouldn’t believe how many trees there are in this city. This is, I think, my third year volunteer-picking for them – I never do tons of picks, just a few to keep in the loop and get some fruit.
This morning I helped out with a cherry pick at a house near Bloor and Christie. There were seven of us plus two kids helping out. The tree was huge, and we knew when we started we would have to leave some for the birds.
We always start by clearing the ground of branches, windfall and fruit half eaten by birds or squirrels. Then it’s time to pick. This morning involved a lot of reaching:
But we all agreed the result was worth it.
One-third of the cherries picked go to charity, one-third to the homeowner (though they often give that up), and one-third to the volunteers. I ate many cherries today.
When I spotted this homemade fudgesicle recipe on Smitten Kitchen, I had to have it, especially since I’d recently received some awesome rocket-shaped popsicle molds. But… I’m currently on an elimination diet that means no dairy. I put on my thinking cap and decided I could veganize them easily with my favourite friend, coconut milk.
They taste amazing, probably better than with just dairy milk. I did find them hard to get out – maybe I was in a hurry, maybe it’s the molds, maybe the mixture is stickier with coconut – but hot water and squeezing did the trick. (Pulling resulted in a popsicle-free stick, which is just sad.) The unfrozen mixture also makes an amazing pudding – I had the leftovers from my pot on top of sliced banana.
As I’m not actually vegan, I wasn’t picky about the vegan-ness of some ingredients. These are more dairy-free, I guess. The level of detail is up to you.
Homemade vegan fudgesicles
(Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
21 g chopped dark chocolate (I used Denman Island Simply Dark, which may or may not be vegan, actually)
1/3 cup sugar (I used raw sugar and you could probably cut this amount back a bit.)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder (I used Navitas raw cacao powder)
1 1/4 cups coconut milk (the kind from a can. If it’s almost solid like mine was, thin it out with a bit of water)
Pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
Gently melt the chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring. Stir in sugar, cornstarch, cocoa powder, coconut milk and salt and increase heat to medium, whisking mixture until smooth. Continuing to whisk frequently, cook until mixture is thick, about 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and coconut oil. Let cool slightly, stirring occasionally, then pour into molds. Use spatula to lick pot clean.
(Want your own rocket-shaped popsicles? The molds are available at Amazon.)