DSharp’s Amazing Homemade Energy Bars

Background

Dan Sharp has been with us at the 8th Street Owl House now for a few weeks. He climbs uphill very fast and makes a mean steak. We love him.

He also makes a pretty mind-blowing homemade energy bar. Upon tasting it, I held a kitchen knife to his gut and made him promise to show me all his secrets. Apparently he thought I was serious because he kindly obliged.

Sharp was inspired to make his own energy food after a ride through the London countryside during which his riding companion shared a delicious bar with him. He promptly returned to the states and reverse-engineered the deliciousness.

About the Recipe

The following is a “recipe” only in loose terms. Sharp cooks, as I often do, “by feel” – adding a handful of this or a squirt of that. For the purposes of this blog post, we attempted to measure everything in question, but you should know that you can experiment and everything will be ok.

A few more dates and your bars will be more moist.  A few more nuts and you will get something more like a dry granola bar.

Play until you find your special balance.

We also encourage you to play with ingredients. We’ve been keeping our eyes out as we shop in Tucson and have been inspired by things like dried fruits, spicy components and carob nibs. These haven’t made it into a batch yet, but I’m sure they will.

General Nutritionals

It’s hard to exactly quantify nutritional values for this recipe but I calculated general values:

Per bar:
230 calories
9g fat
40g carb
5g fiber
2.5g protein

How to Print

Use the “Print this page” link at the top right of this entry for a printer-friendly version sans photos.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup spelt flakes
  • 1 T. malt
  • 1 T powdered sugar
  • 1.3 lb. medjool dates (best to have extra lying about for possible consistency adjustment – the dates are your primary binding agent)
  • .5 cup pecan pieces raw
  • .5 cup roasted/salted pecan pieces
  • 1 cup large hazlenuts
  • 3-5 T agave syrup (this is another consistency adjustment ingredient)
  • .5 cup coconut flakes (this is optional, substitute with ingredient[s] of choice)

How it Works

-Preheat oven to 325-350. Ish.

-Spread the oats, spelt flakes, malt, and powdered sugar on a cookie sheet (here we are using a cake pan because, well, our vacation rental in Tucson doesn’t have a cookie sheet). Mix well.  Put the pan in the oven to toast (about 15 minutes or so, keep your eye on them).

-While they are toasting, cut the dates “smallish but not small”. This is a direct quote from DSharp. Observe the following photos with smallish but not small guidelines. He slices them in half, removes the pit, then slices them lengthwise, then he lines them up together and chops them into (smallish but not small) bits, psycho-killer style.

(Notes!!)

-Next we will chop nuts. (Don’t forget to keep an eye on your toasting oat mixture)

-Sharp uses a patented nut-mashing technique that he learned from his Pretty Lady (Ms. Tori Bortman of Gracie’s Wrench). Put nuts in plastic bag. Place bag on cutting board or other hard surface. Bash with rolling pin. You can do something less violent if you wish, just get the nuts into little pieces (but not TOO little), ok?

-Has it been 10-15 minutes? Go check your oats! They’re probably ready. Look – ours are!

(Headless oat man)

-Ok, where are we? Right. The nuts are chopped. Small but not too small:

The dates are all cut into smallish but not too small pieces (see, the box is empty – that’s proof!):

And our oat-spelt-malt-sugar mixture is all toasty:

-Time to mix. Add the nuts to the dates. Then at the oats to the dates and nuts. Then add the coconut. Got that?  Everything in the same bowl. Good!
-Now that your pan is empty again, clean it and then lube it up. I mean grease it. You can use PAM or butter or coconut oil or whatever you like. Just make sure you use something because you want these little guys to slip out nice and easy when all is said and done.

-Now comes the fun part. Knead everything together with your hands until it starts to form a lump. As you’re kneading, pay attention to consistency.
-Add agave syrup one tablespoon at a time until you’ve reached desired moisture levels.

-When the lump is well-formed, put it in your pan. If you’re using a cookie pan, you can put a sheet of wax paper on top and roll it out with a rolling pin. We didn’t have that luxury, so used our hands and then improvised and used a cutting board as a flat-smasher.

-The bars should be about 3/4 inch thick when you’re done.

“This looks perfect!”

-Put it in the oven at 325-350 for about 20 minutes. Keep your eye on it toward the end. They’ll emerge golden and toasty and crisp:

-Let cool, then cut into bar shapes. This particular recipe makes about 18 bars.
-Store in a dry location in zip-lock baggies. They’ll last for a good long while but I bet they won’t be around long enough for you to find out.

More notes: “Cut. Eat. Ride”
[Stick it to man.]
All good advice, mind you.

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16 comments

  1. What is the total cost per bar?

  2. Oh, and they look like they taste delicious!!!!

  3. I didn’t calculate total cost per bar, but if you make them and decide to do all that crazy math, please let me know what you find out!

  4. man you need to make me some….

    evans.

  5. note: I substituted cashews for hazelnuts (Oregon Hazelnuts are wicked $$$ after the ecoli incident); maple sugar for the powdered sugar; and added a little hint of spice of cinnamon and cardamom.

    The cost came out to be $0.96/~50g bar
    That does not include the time/labor it took to make them. Overall these are really easy to make though with most of the labor going into chopping the dates. Thats a pretty small cost for having complete control over what goes into them and eventually your body’s fuel source.

    I have not tested them on the bike but, at ~238kj-9g fat, 34g carb, 5g fiber, 5g pro-they should go down well.

    Thanks for the recipe!

  6. KW!
    We love this. I read it to Dan last night when it came in. We’re all about the cardamom and have been putting it in our coffee lately (!!). Also, we were excited to learn the cost per bar, which is good compared to products like ProBar

  7. Dang! Those look fantastic. I need a new pocket snack, and this is it. Thanks, guys!

  8. Natscallion,
    I’m stoked to see what you do with them!

  9. I love them. They got me through a particularly brutal 95 miler this weekend. The only reason I bonked at the end is because I ran out. I need to carry more next time!

    • Hey Robert,
      Sweet! More bars, more bars! I usually consume about 200 calories per hour when I’m on the bike (more or less varying with intensity). How much do you eat? I’m always curious to hear how other people fuel.
      Cheers,
      Heidi

  10. Hi there–My husband is a real cycle-nut and found these delicious looking bars on your amazing blog. He has requested me to make these energy bars, but as we are in Japan, I am struggling a bit with some of the ingredients. In particular, I am unsure of what ‘malt’ refers to? Is it the syrup? Roasted barley malt? I apologize for the rather ignorant question, but any help you can give me would be VERY much appreciated! And keep up the great work! Regards, Joli

    • Hi Joli,
      You’d be looking for the powder (Malt Powder) but we actually didn’t have malt in our first batch here at the owl house and Dan proclaimed them, “Just as good!”
      You can go ahead and omit the malt and you’ll still have a fine product – it can be tricky to find even in the States (usually it requires a good health food store).
      I’d love to hear how your bars come out. Will you let us know?
      Cheers,
      Heidi

  11. I usually shoot for 200 – 300. I’m a large guy and I tend to burn a boat load. I will definitely have more bars on the next ride. I usually get tired of any one particular thing on an all day ride, so I just didn’t pack enough out of the door. Lesson learned!

  12. Hi there–I’m back! I wanted to let you know that I finally made the energy bars, albeit with a few changes to the recipe. To start, I couldn’t get a hold of any malt powder or spelt flakes, so I used 2 c. of oats and toasted them in the oven for about 30 minutes. I ended up using just under 400 g. of medjool dates, so perhaps that why my “dough” didn’t seem as sticky as the one pictured above. However, I did have some pomegranate molasses leftover from another recipe (well, just reduced pom juice, actually), so I added that to the mix in addition to the agave syrup. The result was delicious according to my husband, so I am super happy–thank you so much for a great idea and a fantastic recipe! Regards, Joli

    • Joli,
      Your mods sounds fantastic. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe and thanks for coming back to tell us how it went and what you altered.
      If you try any more variations, be sure to let us know!

  13. Notes: Dates can be found pretty cheap usually at Asian markets. And never buy your supplies at Whole Foods; the mark up is insane. I used Barley “flakes” (i.e. oats) instead of Spelt flakes. If I had been able to find Spelt flakes (which Bob’s Red Mill DOES make) then my bars would have been gluten free (whoop dee doo), because I was using Bob’s GF oats. I’m considering things like figs and cherries, and getting the agave nectar out of there since it’s not only expensive, but its healthiness is debatable. Coconut oil to grease the pan works well, and coconut shavings on top of the bar make them look pretty again (esp if the undersides get a little burnt, which mine did).

    My end verdict here is… good/fair. They’re good enough that I can use them as bribes for my friends, but they’re expensive and time-consuming to make. I think the love that goes into them is actually a bit of incalculable sustenance itself… NOM. So, like Dan himself encouraged me, I’m going to “make it my own.”

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