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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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September 30, 2008

Make Your Own Primal Energy Bars in 10 Easy Steps

By Worker Bee
82 Comments

Energy BarsYou know the drill. You slept late, your son misplaced his lunchbox, the cat threw up in the flowers. You’re already 10 minutes late for work and there’s nary a minute to scarf down a breakfast, let alone one that a caveman would approve of!

Enter the protein bar – it’s individually packaged, it’s relatively affordable, and you can easily eat it in the car while you’re doing your hair in the rear view mirror and practicing your presentation for later this afternoon – in essence, it’s the ultimate grab-and-go food.

However, there is a downside. In many cases, these protein bars contain ingredients and chemicals that very few people – bar the odd organic chemist or real nutrition expert – can pronounce and still fewer would actually want to ingest.

The solution? It’s time to put your chef hat on, because the only way you’re going to find an energy bar that is Primal and palatable is if you do a little D.I.Y… (and trust us, it’s really not that hard!).

Ingredients:

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup almond or sesame seed meal
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup almond butter
1/4 cup coconut oil (check your local health food store)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of raw honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries or blueberries

Method:

  1. On a cookie sheet, toast nuts and shredded coconut until golden brown (you may need to shake the tray once or twice to make sure they cook evenly).
  2. Once toasted, pour mixture into a food processor and pulse until nuts are chopped and the mixture becomes coarsely ground.
  3. In a mixing bowl, melt coconut oil and almond butter (about 20 seconds). Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.
  4. Add vanilla extract, honey and sea salt. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Fold in nut mixture and almond (or sesame seed) meal until mixed thoroughly.
  6. Fold in blueberries/cranberries.
  7. Press mixture into an 8 by 4 loaf pan.
  8. Refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm.
  9. Cut “loaf” width wise. Should make 6 good-sized bars.
  10. Enjoy! (or, if you don’t plan to eat immediately, you can store the bars in the refrigerator, covered loosely with a paper towel and plastic wrap.
manray3 Flickr Photo (CC)

Further Reading:

How to Make Your Own Jerky

DIY – Butter, Yogurt, Kefir, Oh My!

Homemade Condiment Creations

Choose Your Own Salad Adventure

The Easiest Guide to Safe Household Cleaners You Can Make Yourself

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82 Comments on "Make Your Own Primal Energy Bars in 10 Easy Steps"

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Son of Grok
Son of Grok
7 years 11 months ago

I keep just looking at this and feeling that it should be bad… haven’t found why yet (even though the honey does make me slightly aprehensive). I am definitely going to have to try this one.

mh1
mh1
7 years 11 months ago

There seems to be a whole lotta protein in this but not much it terms of carbs. Was this intentional? Can you give a nutritional breakdown (qua nutrition label) for your concoction?

Son of Grok
Son of Grok
7 years 11 months ago

How long do you think these will keep un-refridgerated? I would like to bring one to work with me to complement my homeade primal jerky that I have been making. It would be in a plastic bag for about 8 hours unrefridgerated. Think it would hold up?

Aaron
7 years 11 months ago
mh1- They aren’t the best protein source (check out the DIY Jerky recipe link at the bottom of the post), but they are a good option for an on-the-go meal full of healthy fats that will satiate your appetite. Here is the breakdown: Total Batch: Calories: 2288 Fat: 203g Carbs: 110g Protein: 40g So to hit your serving size just cut into the appropriate size (6ths, 8ths, 12ths etc) Here is the per bar breakdown if you cut the batch into 6ths: Calories: 381 Fat: 34g Carbs: 18.3 g Protein: 6.6 g The carb count isn’t ultra-low. But it is… Read more »
Sally
Sally
7 years 11 months ago

When does the sesame meal get added? Is it toasted? Or do you add it later? Also, could you substitute almond meal?

Nancy in Alberta
Nancy in Alberta
2 years 11 months ago

Step 5

charlotte
7 years 11 months ago

I think these sound fantastic. I’m going to try a batch. If the kidlets eat them, I’ll be thrilled! Thanks guys!

Heather
7 years 11 months ago

Oh man these sound great. Thanks for the recipe!

Cindy moore
7 years 11 months ago

“you can store the bars in the refrigerator, covered loosely with a paper towel and plastic wrap”

Don’t the paper towels soak up any of the fat?

They do sound yummy, I’ve been looking for something to add to my morning shake that is high in fat. I need something solid as I take my vits, meds with breakfast shake!

Thanks

Aaron
7 years 11 months ago

Almond meal is a great substitute for sesame meal, Sally.

If you are worried about losing any of that precious fat store the bars on a covered plate.

Great questions!

Joe Matasic
Joe Matasic
7 years 11 months ago

Aaron, could you answer Sally’s question about when to add the almond/sesame meal? I was wondering the same thing.

Also any clue as to the fiber content to reduce the carb load?

They sound good. Might have to try ’em.

Methuselah - Pay Now Live Later
7 years 11 months ago

If you also included some dried apricots, which are pretty sweet, there might be no need for the honey. Or is the honey required to help with binding the mixture….?

Aaron
7 years 11 months ago

Sally/Joe,

Yes, apologies. #5 is meant to include the nut/seed meal addition. It’s been added for clarification.

Great point, Methusaleh. Apricots are a great addition. In fact they make binding the bar together that much easier. The honey adds a bit of sweetness and helps binding. Without apricots, it should be noted that the recipe may need some tweaking to get the bars to bind well, and that could include adding a touch more honey.

Anna
7 years 11 months ago
My batch is chillin’ in the freezer as I type (my son is impatiently waiting for some while he does his homework). I used dried Montmorency Cherries (unsweetened tart cherries) because that’s the only dried fruit I had. I first gave them a few pulses in the food processor to make smaller bits. Everything else I had in the pantry. This is much faster than the baked nut bars I had been making (also grain-free). Probably tastier, too. Another good ingredient for snacks like this is Coconut Spread (the only one I know about is from Wilderness Family Naturals, either… Read more »
new_me
new_me
7 years 11 months ago

What is almond/sesame meal? Is it just finely ground almonds/sesame seeds?

I have been searching for ages for a primal recipe for something to replace the grocery store type granola bar. My children love granola bars, but I refuse to buy them anymore, and they know it! I will certainly give this a try. If it passes the kid test then it is truly a winner!

My only problem with the recipe is the microwave part. PLEASE do not microwave your nourishment! It turns good food into processed and altered junk.

Meg
Meg
1 year 8 months ago

Actually, scientists have found that microwaving does not have any worse effects on food than any other method of cooking. Harvard and Cornell have actually done some studies that suggest that microwaving can help to retain nutrients

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/17/health/17real.html?_r=0
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19397724

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[…] on over to marksdailyapple.com to see the recipe: Make Your Own Primal Energy Bars in 10 Easy […]

Chris - Zen to Fitness
7 years 11 months ago

Very cool post and idea. If you can get hold of the nut meals this is super easy to make and an Ideal snack. I suppose for those of you who want some extra protein it would be possible to add some Unflavored Whey (not sure about this though….I would also suggest adding some ground cinnamon and possibly a TBSP or two of canned pumpkin.

Laura K
Laura K
7 years 11 months ago

wow these look delicious! Though I think there would be a danger of eating the entire batch in one sitting…. hmm 2200 calories…

these would be great for when ski/snowboard season starts.. a perfect high energy snack.

Spindelicious
Spindelicious
7 years 11 months ago

These look awesome! Can’t wait to try them.
Nut meal is just finely ground nuts, in this case almonds. Just stick ’em in the food processor and ground till “flour” consistency. If you don’t feel like making your own, Bob’s Red Mill sells Almond Meal and you can order it online.
Another great binder (that would add sweetness) is pureed dates…

Aaron
7 years 11 months ago

Great call on the dates suggestion, Spindelicious.

Anna
7 years 11 months ago
How about pureed prunes? These were a hit with the son and hubby, though my batch turned out a bit crumbly (I might not have processed the nuts fine enough). One went into his school lunch box this morning. Of course, my son asked for chocolate chips in his next time. I think I’ll add raw unsweetened cocoa nib bits to the next batch, though. For my own purposes (impaired glucose tolerance) they are still too high in sugar (most of the sugars in this come from the fruit), but the fruit functions as a binder, so I’ll do some… Read more »
Anna
7 years 11 months ago
Made another batch last night. This time I actually measured instead of eyeballing the amounts – more stuff to wash, though. I chopped the nuts/coconut finer in the food processor than I did for the first batch. I was out of all dried fruit except some Trader Joe’s date rolls (date paste logs rolled in coconut shreds with an almond pressed on top – 30g of CHO each!) I call them “sugar bombs”, natural sugars notwithstanding (dried dates are very high in sugar). I put two of those in the food processor *with the nuts* instead of dried cranberries or… Read more »
Heather
7 years 11 months ago

Thanks for the rundown, Anna. I’m sure I’m not the only one who appreciates it when you share your experiences, it’s always helpful!

Matt
Matt
7 years 11 months ago

I made these with cashew butter, and flax meal instead of almond meal. Delicious!

Eric
Eric
7 years 11 months ago

I replaced the almond/sesame seed meal in these while increasing the protein content of the bars using these three different methods, all of them good as gold: either substitute “meal” for 1) a good quality organic whey protein (used Paleomeal), 2) hemp protein powder or 3) a pea/rice protein mixture. I even decreased the carb content further by using fresh or frozen wild blueberries, picked right from my backyard 🙂 Yummy!!! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!!!

Anna
7 years 11 months ago
One of characteristics about this “uncooked” bar is that it needs to stay relatively cool to keep its form. For the last batch I made, I added an egg and mixed it well (I also used two date rolls instead of the dried berries), then baked it for 20 minutes in moderate oven at 325°F. That was my son’s favorite batch so far, and while still a bit crumbly and can’t take being tossed around, keeping it cool isn’t an issue. Oh, and he likes an handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips thrown in, too :-). I also added some raw… Read more »
Aaron
7 years 11 months ago

Thanks for the update, Anna! Very helpful. Let us know if you come up with any new and exciting creations!

cenz
cenz
7 years 11 months ago

I replaced the almond/sesame meal with whey protein powder in my batch and have been storing the bars in the freezer. They cohere very well. I also found that wrapping them in parchment paper helps the bars hold their shape in my bag on the way to work.

I love how mailable this recipe is– very easy to alter to a person’s taste. I’m going to be sending this recipe to friends.

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[…] Make Your Own Primal Energy Bars in 10 Easy Steps […]

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[…] for a serving of healthy fat. In a previous post, coconut oil figured prominently in our recipe for Primal Energy Bars. It’s a great binder, especially for nut and fruit bars. I guess you could technically use olive […]

Emily
7 years 10 months ago

I made these and they were delicious! I didn’t use any dried fruit but added a few drops of liquid stevia for sweetness. I also used agave nectar instead of honey and instead of one teaspoon vanilla extract, I used half vanilla and half almond. They’re sinfully delicious.

I also avoid microwaves, so I just combined the oil and almond butter on the stove. No problem.

Scott Miller
7 years 10 months ago

I’ve been making bars similar to these for years. The big difference is that I add several scoops of unsweetened whey protein powder to significantly up the protein content. I don’t add any honey to my bars, either — don’t need the fructose. Sometimes I’ll throw in a scoop of raw cocoa powder, which is a super healthy addition, and gives them a slight chocolate flavor.

Dan Ware
7 years 10 months ago

Scott Miller,

I’m REALLY interested in trying your modifications to my bars, but could you be more specific when you refer to “scoops”?
How big is a “scoop” as it relates to the portions of the above recipe? 1/4 cup, 1/2 cup, etc.

Thanks for the GREAT info!

Scott Miller
7 years 10 months ago
Hi Dan, a scoop is a non-standard size, I know, but really there’s no need to be super accurate. I think my scoop is 25 grams, and I’ll use 3-4 scoops, which adds about 100 grams of protein to the mix. If you divide that into 8 bars, you have 12.5 grams more protein per bar. They key point is that more protein is better, and Mark’s bars seem way too low on the protein, versus what I want. Mark’s bars come off more as energy bars, IMO, and I prefer a bar that’s more protein and fat focused, with… Read more »
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[…] of Larabars got me excited about showing you all the bars that I make. This recipe is adapted from this recipe over at MDA. I took it, experimented (a LOT of experimenting) and morphed it into a whole new […]

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[…] you talk, we listen. You loved the Primal Energy Bar recipe we featured in September, but the comment section lit up with suggestions about how to modify and […]

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[…] appealing), no more tea bags (note the space in there :P), eating for the (fall) season, DIY energy bars, more on alcohol (and Chicken Littles), more doctors embracing low-carb, some pitfalls of […]

Miha Otrob
7 years 6 months ago

Tried and liked it!

isaac e
isaac e
7 years 6 months ago

it would be kinda cool if you could make a video on youtube showing exactly how you do it… because i suck at following written recipes on a language other than my own 🙂

Oleg
Oleg
7 years 5 months ago

After years of making homemade granola bars I saw this one. It is the best one yet. Especially like the ‘no bake’ aspect. Next time I will double the recipe.

Shirley
7 years 5 months ago
I have made this recipe twice now. The 2nd time I was smarter and used my cuisinart to do the whole process. I just put all of the ingredients into the cuisinart and pulsed until the mixture held togather. I then take the mixture out and dump into a bowl and shape the mixture into small bite size balls. I am now supplying my massage therapists with these delightful morsels and they love them. I made a few changes to the recipe. I added 1/3 cup of hemp herts for protein, 1/3 cup milk poweder, increased almond butter to 1/2… Read more »
Shirley
7 years 5 months ago

sorry, should read hemp hearts.

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[…] flour substitutes. Googling "Low Carb Energy Bar Recipe" comes up with a lot. Check out this page, that looks pretty yummy! Please make a batch & let me know what time to come […]

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[…] Make Your Own Primal Energy Bars in 10 Easy Steps – Sep. 30 […]

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7 years 1 month ago

[…] job to everyone this week! While you’re resting, try out this great energy bar recipe from Mark’s Daily Apple. It is difficult for me to find a good tasting energy bar […]

Graham
Graham
7 years 2 days ago

While I know dessert is sort of frowned upon by the primal diet, these broken into little bits make GREAT dessert.

Nikki
Nikki
7 years 2 days ago
Soaking the nuts in pure water for at least overnight or longer makes them more digestible. The almonds will even sprout a tiny bit. Then soak the almonds in hot water to loosen the skins. The skins have phytic acid which lessens the absorption of B-vitamins. This is more work but imo worth it. I agree with skipping the microwave and using a low heat burner on the range to melt the oil and nut butter. I always double the recipe. Once I used Butter Buds for the binder but wasn’t overjoyed with the resultant texture.
livesimply
livesimply
6 years 9 months ago

Question: Since I do not like coconut (wish I did) what do you think would be the best substitute for that in this recipe in terms of consistency–more nuts, flax meal, or something else? Thanks–this looks wonderful. Reminds me a little of Larabars (TM), my favorite store-bought bar.

em grace
em grace
6 years 6 months ago

i made these today and cut them into tiny little squares which was plenty! as for the coconut, you can’t taste it at all!!

i would love to know more about what to do with pumpkin…. it’s my fave and don’t really know how to do anything paleo with it!! (i will probably search pumpkin on this right now and come up with 18 things…!) love the site!

Sawtooth Rider
Sawtooth Rider
6 years 4 months ago

I like this, but I might combine some shelled hemp seeds to bring in a tad of healthy carbs, and some flax seeds whole, and ground..Maybe try them with no honey, or less..

Terry
Terry
6 years 4 months ago

I’ve made these twice now, following the recipe precisely, and both times the bars came out very crumbly, even crumbling when I initially cut them. What can I do to get these bars to hold together? Right now I just have a zip-lock bag full of crumbs!

Robeil
Robeil
6 years 2 months ago

Maybe use it as a granola cereal add some coconut milk, instead making bars…

I’m off to get the ingredients 😀 … will report on the results…

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