26 In Snack

Cherry Hazelnut Energy Bars

Cherry Hazelnut Energy Bars | A Couple CooksCherry Hazelnut Energy Bars | A Couple Cooks

Ever tried your hand at homemade energy bars? We couldn’t resist pairing a food processor-inspired recipe to go along with this week’s giveaway, and with Larabars and Clif bars all the rage, it was a good excuse to try them at home.

These bars are similar to homemade Larabar, but with slightly more texture. Like a raw brownie (our go-to healthy dessert of choice), they’re gluten-free and all natural, made mainly of Medjool dates and nuts. This version uses hazelnuts for a more complex flavor, and dried cherries for a sour note that compliments the sweet. They’re based off an idea from one of our favorite cookbooks, Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon.

With some upcoming cross-Atlantic travels, we’re looking forward to these as some healthy snacks to have in tow, along with some roasted almonds and perhaps some homemade trail mix. We’re excited to announce where we’re headed next week (though you may already know if you follow us on Twitter since Alex couldn’t help but spill the beans!).

Thanks for all your kind comments on our new site design this week and your excitement on our giveaway — you’ve made our week!

Cherry Hazelnut Energy Bars
Note: You can substitute almonds for the hazelnuts if they are not easily available, but we recommend using hazelnuts for their unique flavor.
Serves: 16 large bars or 32 small bars
What You Need
  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 20 Medjool dates (2 cups)
  • 1 cup + ¼ cup dried cherries (divided)
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats
What To Do
  1. In the bowl of a food processor, add all ingredients except ¼ cup dried cherries. Turn on the food processor and process until the mixture sticks together without being crumbly, about 2 minutes. (The length of processing is important for the texture, so make sure to process long enough that the mixture is not crumbly, but not so long that it becomes too gooey.)
  2. Add the remaining ¼ cup dried cherries and pulse several times to combine, incorporating the larger cherry chunks into the mix.
  3. Turn out the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and press it into a flat layer of the desired thickness, then roll a rolling pin over the top to smooth it to a uniform thickness. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 1 hour to harden. Then slice into bars of the desired size (we used 4” x 2”). Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


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  • Reply
    May 14, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    Yum! Ever since I tried your raw brownie recipe, I have been incorporating Medjool dates and cocoa powder into my oat bars. Now you have me wanting to try hazelnuts.

  • Reply
    Sina @ the kosher spoon
    May 14, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    Such a perfect snack! I’ve made these with cashews and cocoa powder as well. I like the dried cherries idea.

  • Reply
    May 14, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    These sound awesome, and it just so happens that I have a bunch of hazelnuts I’ve been looking to use up! I love that these bars are made from *real* foods, unlike so many of the store-bought energy bars whose ingredient lists read like chemistry labs.

  • Reply
    Elana @ The Inventive Vegetarian
    May 14, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    These look AMAZING. I am a fan of all things hazelnut and will definitely have to try these out. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Matt Robinson
    May 15, 2014 at 1:30 am

    Sonja and Alex, I love all that you do! And the combo of cherry and hazelnut in these bars is so perfect. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    May 15, 2014 at 7:41 am

    The new design is SO fabulous guys!! Also, these bars look perfect!

  • Reply
    Lane | Green Spirit Adventures
    May 15, 2014 at 9:38 am

    These look so delicious! Homemade energy bars are one of my favorite snacks. I’m definitely going to be giving these a try soon!

  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 9:58 am

    These look amazing, will definitely be trying them!


  • Reply
    Katie @ Whole Nourishment
    May 15, 2014 at 10:22 am

    I am literally drooling over these. This hazelnut/cherry combo is heaven. Am flying to NY for a conference tomorrow and so wish I had time to make them. Instead packing a trail mix (also good ;-), but definitely going to try these bars soon!

    • Reply
      Katie @ Whole Nourishment
      May 20, 2014 at 5:36 am

      Unless soaked, I prefer to not eat raw oats. Have you tried coconut flour or anything else to substitute for oats in these?

  • Reply
    May 15, 2014 at 11:26 am

    I MUST try these!!! Hazelnuts are one of my favorite nuts and through cherries into it must be just amazing! Thank you!!! I just need to start running more to be able to utilize the delicious fuel:)

  • Reply
    lesley kim
    May 15, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    this looks so good!!


  • Reply
    Jessi G
    May 15, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    If only i had a food processor D;! Date bars make awesome breakfasts, I can see myself eating thees with fruit int he morning!

  • Reply
    May 16, 2014 at 12:59 am

    I have never tried to make my own bars, but you have just inspired me to try! Love the new look of your blog!

  • Reply
    molly yeh
    May 16, 2014 at 9:41 am

    my food processor LIVES for making me energy bars. and by me i mean my man because he gobbles them up so fast.

  • Reply
    May 16, 2014 at 9:27 pm

    I would love to try these bars! I keep seeing energy bar recipes with dates in them, which I’ve never bought. No time like the present! And cherries are an uncommon, but yummy fruit choice! :)

  • Reply
    Sandra Lea
    May 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm

    I just made these and the flavor is amazing. I love Megan’s cookbook. They did not hold together very well, I could hardly cut them into bars. They are still good to eat and sprinkle on things but do you have any suggestions for keeping them together? Thanks.

    • Reply
      May 17, 2014 at 6:35 pm

      Sandra – thanks for writing! The first time we made these, we also had the problem of them holding together. The next time we made them, we made sure to food process longer: around 2 to 3 minutes. It can come together into a ball, but not be so sticky that it has completely lost texture. Does that seem like it could have been your issue? When it is too dry, you can also add additional dates (sometimes I notice if the dates are too dry the texture will be dry). You can always put the mixture back in with a few more dates and see if it comes together. Let me know what you think!

  • Reply
    Valentina @Hortus
    May 18, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Aaaw guys! It’s a little dream of mine to make these…I never did because I don’t need energy bars! But homemade beats store bought, always (also, damn they’re expensive!)

    They’ll be a great alternative to airplane food. I know how bad it is, still I always eat it as part of the whole flying experience…eheh. My bad.

  • Reply
    May 22, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Did you leave the skins on the hazelnuts? Seems a lot of recipes have you remove them because they can be bitter – but it looks like you may have left them on.

    • Reply
      May 22, 2014 at 9:00 am

      Jennifer – yes, we left the skins on! We didn’t find that it added a bitter taste. Good question!

  • Reply
    May 31, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Look delicious! Do you use sweetened or unsweetened dried cherries? I can never find dried fruit without sugar added, and usually just avoid them.

    • Reply
      June 3, 2014 at 11:06 am

      We used bulk cherries from Whole Foods — I don’t think they have added sugar, but I’m not positive! I’ll check next time I visit.

  • Reply
    June 19, 2014 at 2:50 am

    Mine were a bit of a disaster…they did not stick together like you have shown in your photo but just fell apart after coming out of the freezer! I think it needs a little something else to help bind all the ingredients together….

    • Reply
      June 19, 2014 at 10:26 am

      Sorry they didn’t work out! Perhaps your medjool dates weren’t as sticky as ours.

  • Reply
    October 12, 2014 at 9:11 am

    I have found that with many recipes for homemade energy balls/bars, that increasing the vanilla a bit or adding a few drops of water to the mixture help to bind them. Maybe decreasing the oats? These would probably work just as well with less or even omitting completely…

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    Happy Cooking! ~ Sonja & Alex