February 22, 2014

How to Make the Best Homemade Fudge Energy Bars (gluten, dairy, and cocount free)

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Welcome to my no bake kitchen.  Because me and the oven have been best of enemies the past week.

(funny story about this photo - see the cocoa powder everywhere?  yeah, so I was trying to set a spoonful down on the cutting board, to look all professional, you know? and I lost my balance and flipped the spoon.  hence the cocoa powder everywhere.  my life story)

Ovens need time to heat up. 
Baking needs precise amounts of baking soda.
Cakes and cookies need planning ahead for prep work and cooling time.

Read:  Idonothavetimerightnow.  Or skills - obviously!

I tried a sponge roll cake.  I tried homemade bagels.  I messed up little details on both.  *faceplant*  I DID make these cookies and these cookies, but they weren't blog material because I've already posted them. 

So I stuck with what I know, however uncreative it may be.

No bake energy bites.

(don't you just want to finish that bite???)

I am in a not so creative rut right now (hence the lack of posts!)  But I have made these so often (I don't even measure anymore) and this last batch was so good I decided to go ahead and share it with you ... and since I didn't have anything else.

So today I'm going to break down why these are the best homemade fudge energy bites and how you can make them at home, too!

First up: the dates.  aka the key to refined sugar free energy bites.  Dates are the sticky sweetness that makes these taste like a dessert.  And without them, your energy bites will fall apart.  They contribute all of the wet ingredients that hold these bites together.  As for nutritional value, dates are a pretty good source of fiber, especially compared to honey and white sugar.

Next: the almonds!  All nuts, when blended enough, become like a butter.  I don't do that with the almonds in this recipe, but I blend them enough so that their natural fats create a thicker, firmer mixture.  Thanks to the almonds, these energy bites have a nutty, stick-to-ya factor.  You want to make sure you have at least 1:1 ratio of nuts to dates in these kind of recipes.  Otherwise, you will have a wet and sticky hot mess on your hands.  Trust me from multiple experiences.  And, almonds pack a big punch of healthy fats, and protein. 

Third on the list: oats.  Although oats have a bad rap thanks to clumpy lumpy bowls of oatmeal, these energy bites will have you taking back any nasty comments.  Instead of the traditional flour, oats are a hearty gluten free option.  They soak up any extra moisture, ensuring you don't have a wet and sticky hot mess described above.  They aren't usually used in Larabar or Clif bar copycats, but I like the chewiness that oats add.  Plus, they are a great source of fiber!

Finally, our choc-o-la-tay!  On to the goods!  Cocoa powder is an awesome substitute for flour in recipes where you want more chocolate oomph.  It serves the same purpose as the oats in terms of adding body to the energy bites, but it is obviously for the fudge factor.  When cocoa powder combines with dates, you've got a major fudge thing going on.  The rich and chewy fudginess is so darn good!  I use a hefty three tablespoons, but these aren't bitter (also learned from previous experiences) thanks to the dates and the ...

... Dark chocolate chips - don't you dare point to these little beauties and slam these energy bites as unhealthy.  Dark chocolate is good for you (or so I hear ... and tell myself as I eat half the bag) because of all those antioxidants.  (I honestly have no idea what they are but I hear they are good for me.)  And seriously, dark chocolate chips taste amazing. 

Blend those all up, with a little water to make it smoother, and roll into balls. 

Instant fudge gratification. 

These are some of my favorite things to make.  We're talking serious fudge truffles here!  When I want chocolate, I don't want to wait 45 minutes for brownies.  Now I don't have to.  These satisfy my random chocolate fixes in five minutes AND keep me fueled all morning and afternoon ... and afternight. 

In. Love. 

Homemade Fudge Energy Bites
Recipe Source: The Sweet {Tooth} Life
Yield: 12 bites

1/2 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup oats
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

In a good food processor (I used my Ninja) blend the dates with 3 tablespoons of water. (It is okay if they aren't super smooth)
Add almonds and oats and blend again.
Add cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and 1-2 tablespoons more water.  (Start with 1 tablespoon water and if you need more, add the second tablespoon.)
Roll into 12 balls.
Enjoy healthy fudge bliss.
If you have any, store leftovers in refrigerator.


  1. Chocolate chips just can't be unhealthy. I refuse to believe it! :) Especially dark chocolate! I love little energy balls like this, and these look amazing. I find it really interesting how well dates take on other flavors!

    1. I refuse with you ;) I have been amazed again and again by dates, although I tend to stick with peanut butter or chocolate. Have you baked, like in the oven, with them?

  2. Ahhh, I love energy bites. Great excuse to eat absurd amounts of food ;) Pinned!

    1. You nailed it! That is the whole reason I make things like this! :)

  3. Yum yum yum yum. These look delicious. I love your combo of ingredients. Pinning and totally trying them ASAP! :) I'm in a creative rut, too--let's hope we find our way out soon! Hope your weekend was great!

    1. It was a good weekend, although long :) Thanks Erin, I hope we do get out of it!

  4. These look SO good! Pinning them now!

  5. Fudge + Energy Bars = the best snack ever! Love these Mary Frances!

  6. I love energy bites!! These look delicious!

  7. In my opinion the cocoa powder looks artsy splattered like that...I love your photography. I wish I could be as good....and as patient with the food styling...I'm just so eager to sit down and eat that's it like the "Ain't nobody got time for that" meme...heh. Nevermind me. I pay for it later when I put up my posts and think, "is that what it really looked like??" O.O What kind of camera do you use? ...If you don't mind my asking.

    I'll tell you one thing, with the Lenton season approaching this is a great, healthful snack...especially since I'll be fasting and cutting down on the cupcakes and cookies :,( ...how shall I survive?!?! ..with snacks like these ;)

    Thank you for sharing Mary Frances!


  8. I love EVERYTHING about these energy bites!!!! What a great recipe Mary Frances!
    xox Amy

  9. think they'd be okay for a day at room temp and then stored in the fridge when they go home? planning to bring these to a friend in the hospital who just went through labor but will be going home the following day


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