Fruit-Glued Bars

energy bars part 5 · absolute simplicity without the expense

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For special circumstances…

Four parts into a five-part series on energy bars, we’ve covered nearly every need. Superior solidity and ultimate adaptability make Pepe’s Tri Bars arguably the best all-around bar in existence. Banana-Bound Bars boast comparable technical performance, but are suitable for vegans and don’t require a food processor. What more could we ask of an energy bar? Not much:

  1. No-bake: No oven? No problem.
  2. Ultimate ease: When “two” is the only number of ingredients that isn’t too many.

These requirements demand significant trade-offs. Compared to its companions, today’s bar is less structurally sound, and less reliably adaptable. Even perfectly prepared, it will stick and smush under pressure or heat; improperly constructed, it will crumble into a difficult-to-consume nutty fruit gravel.

Fruit-glued bars with surface-embedded peanuts & dried bananaExperimenting with an advanced technique for portions that stick to themselves, but not to each other.

…a simple bar

But don’t let that discourage you: if we write these off, our (proverbial) bar is too high. Most of the (literal) bars you’ll find on your grocer’s shelves—at least the ones that, like us, forego sugar syrups and use only whole ingredients—use precisely this formula:

Pulverize together: 1 part dates & 1 part nuts
Press into a pan. Chill thoroughly.

That’s all: all you need to do to replicate an outrageously-priced LÄRABAR or Bearded Brothers. Yes, the details matter more than we’d prefer. Date really is required—other dried fruit just aren’t as reliably gluey. Customizations must be approached with care. Still, if you can find a food processor, obtain dates, and manage not to improvise too radically, this is the easiest bar around. Just try not to feel too bad that you ever paid for one with a fancy label.

[recipe title=”Fruit-Glued Energy Bars” servings=”small batch: ‘part’ = ‘pint'” time=”instant + chill” difficulty=”food processor? easy.” print=”true”]


  1. Pulverize together:
    • part dates
    • 1 part nuts
    • (optional) 1 part other fruits & nuts
  2. Cold-cure until thoroughly chilly.
    • Press firmly into lined baking dish.
    • Chill in refrigerator for several hours.
    • Support the slab as you invert onto a cutting board.
    • Cut firm presses of a large chef’s knife.

Notesif you need ’em

  1. Customize carefully:
    • Date substitutions are tricky. Raisins, sadly, perform poorly.
    • Instead, fit other flavors (like apples or blueberries) into the “other” part.
  2. Store strategically:
    • Commercial bars get away with this recipe thanks to individual packaging. Follow their lead: portion into ‘snack’-size plastic bags.
    • Unlike theirs, yours are perishable. Store in the fridge or freezer.

They say you taste first with the eyes, and if you've given this recipe a go, we'd all love a visual nibble. What aggressive improvisation did you apply? Did it succeed brilliantly or fail spectacularly? To show off your marvel (or mess), dust off your smartphone:

Post your pic to Instagram, tagged with
to add your dish to the virtual feast below.
[instagram-feed type=hashtag hashtag="#kitchenminimal" includewords="#FruitGlued" cols=4 num=8 showheader=false showcaption=false showbutton=false]