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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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January 08, 2009

Primal Energy Bar Redux: Making a Better Bar

By Worker Bee
224 Comments

When 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 improve the recipe.

Specifically, you guys wanted to up the protein ante, with commenter Paul recommending adding a few scoops of protein powder, and Anna offering some great suggestions for firming up what was originally a pretty fragile bar (because, lets face it, eating your protein bar with a spoon kind of defeats the purpose!)

So with that, we went to our unofficial Mark’s Daily Apple kitchen to put it to the test! There were a couple of missteps (and even one small toasting incident that could have constituted a fire!) but we think we’ve finally nailed it.

The following is the new and improved official Mark’s Daily Apple Primal Energy Bar:

Primal Energy Bar Recipe:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup almond butter (although cashew, hazelnut, walnut and even pumpkin butters will work well too!)
1/4 cup coconut oil (check your local health food store)

1/4 cup almond meal (simply pulse approximately 1/4 cup of almonds until it creates a coarse flour)
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp of raw honey (although, this is really kind of optional because the egg will help hold the mixture together)
1/2 cup unsweetened whey protein powder (or 60g)
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries or blueberries
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut to sprinkle on top

Method:

  1. On a cookie sheet, toast nuts and shredded coconut until golden brown. In order for them to cook evenly, you need to shake up the tray at least once during cooking…trust us!
  2. Once toasted, pour mixture into a food processor and pulse until nuts are chopped and the mixture becomes coarsely ground (sort of the consistency of bread crumbs).
  3. In a mixing bowl, melt coconut oil and almond butter (about 30 seconds). Remove from microwave and stir until smooth.
  4. Add vanilla extract, honey and sea salt. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Fold in nut mixture, almond meal and protein powder until mixed thoroughly.
  6. Add whole egg and mix thoroughly.
  7. Fold in blueberries/cranberries.
  8. Press mixture into an 8 by 8 loaf pan (a modification that we made to keep everything crisper and help the bars to hold together).
  9. Cook in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from oven, sprinkle a ΒΌ cup of shredded coconut on top and place under broiler until top begins to brown.
  11. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. Cut into 12 pieces/bars.
  12. Enjoy or stack on wax paper/parchment and store in an airtight container.

Note: You can also add dark chocolate chips instead of the cranberries/blueberries (available at Whole Foods or health food store). If you add the chips while the mixing bowl is warm (from the coconut oil/almond butter mixture), they will melt into the mixture and you will have yourself a chocolate primal bar. Alternatively, you can just let the mix cool, then add the chips, then refrigerate the pan to get chocolate chip primal bars. The bars stick together pretty well without being cooked.

Nutrition Information:

Nutrition for 1/12 of the batch. Nutritional breakdown courtesy of FitDay.com:

Calories: 184

Fat: 15.4 grams

Carbohydrates: 6.4 grams

Protein: 7.5 grams

And, for those of you who feared they would eat the whole pan… the total nutritional breakdown for the whole darn lot!

Calories: 2,206

Fat: 184.3 grams

Carbohydrates: 77.2 grams

Protein: 90.1 grams

That’s 1659 calories from fat, 309 calories from carbs and 360 calories from protein. Or 72% fat, 14% carbs and 16% protein. A pretty decent Primal balance.

Give ’em a try and let everyone know what you think in the comment boards!

Further Reading:

How to Make Dried Fruit

How to Make Your Own Jerky

10 Delicious DIY Salad Dressings

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224 Comments on "Primal Energy Bar Redux: Making a Better Bar"

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Son of Grok
7 years 8 months ago

Lol! Mark, you weren’t joking. We ended up with almost exactly the same thing independently. Good stuff. Primal minds think alike? Thank you again for re-aligning my perception.

The SoG

walt
walt
3 years 21 days ago

Try looking up pemmican the original energy bar used by native americans

Waltj3

Mark Sisson
3 years 21 days ago
Joe
Joe
7 years 8 months ago

I missed the first recipe for these so I’m stoked you put up a new and improved one. I’m definitely going to be making these for those meals on the go.

Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter)

Wow – sounds pretty easy and very delicious. Definitely want to try this one. Thanks!

New Bob
New Bob
7 years 8 months ago

Can’t wait to try this. Protein bars are a regular part of my diet, but I’d much rather eat something that tastes like almonds than cardboard.

Pete
7 years 8 months ago

Look great! Can’t wait to give them a try!
And finally, a Primal use for bread crumbs! As a comparison for sizes to grind your nuts and coconut too.

Steve
Steve
7 years 8 months ago

What are some good options for unsweetened protein powders?

Samuel
Samuel
4 years 2 months ago
I made these a little while ago. After I added my protein powder, the batter just turned into clumps. Maybe I should have just kept mixing and it would have been OK, but I ended up adding an extra egg. When I took them out at the appointed time, there was a lot of oil runoff and they still seemed too wet in the middle. Again, I may have been mistaken here, but I continued baking them. They weren’t bad, but they were a bit hard and dry. Next time I will try following the recipe and see what happens.… Read more »
Dean
7 years 8 months ago

I made 3 batches of the originals… loved ’em. The only problem I had was that I couldn’t stop eating them!

Donna
Donna
7 years 8 months ago

Past several months i’ve been eating alot of blackberries every day. I think blackberries would go great in this recipe, too.
This recipe is great, i love it!

surplusj
7 years 8 months ago

This looks delicious. A question about measurements – you say that for 1/4 c almond meal you can grind 1/4 c almonds – wouldn’t 1/4 c almonds yield a smaller volume of almond meal? Just making sure the 1/4 cup refers to post-grinding. Thanks!

Super-Trainer
7 years 8 months ago

Yup, looks tasty – Good idea adding the protein powder – that’ll really amp up the recovery –

Mark Sisson
7 years 8 months ago

surplusj – You’re right. It won’t be one for one. It refers to post-grinding. Changes made…

Cheers!

Tom Parker - Free Fitness Tips
7 years 8 months ago

Mmmm. Looks very tasty and relatively simple to make.

Judy Barnes Baker
7 years 8 months ago

Hi Mark.
Thanks for the recipe. One question: is the count given for Net carbs or total carbs? If total, do you know the fiber count?

Andrea
7 years 8 months ago

Mark,
When number crunching in FitDay did you use the measurements as shown, or in grams? I’m becoming a gram-measure nazi, to make sure my “1/2c oats, 40g” isn’t really 57g, et cetera.

If you’d like to lambast me for eating oats and not going fully Primal, feel free. My oats and I can handle it. πŸ™‚

JE Gonzalez
7 years 8 months ago

It is definitely a good idea to get unsweetened shredded coconut. One time I bought a big bag, and lo and behold it was the sweetest, tastiest thing I ever bought. I was looking at the ingredients after chugging down most of the bag and found it was loaded with added sugar. A real D’oh moment if I may say so.

Kevin Green
Kevin Green
7 years 8 months ago

I made the originals and loved them but they weren’t too firm unless they were straight out of the fridge.

Mark,
Do you think they will ship well? I am heading to Iraq in three weeks and I would love for my wife to send some in a care package. I will be eating as primal as possible there but it will be tough.

Thanks for all the good advice and I plan on reading the blog everyday like I do now, even though I can’t make the meals or control much of what I eat.

Kevin

Son of Grok
7 years 8 months ago

Kevin,
Good luck brutha! Be safe.

Scott Miller
Scott Miller
7 years 8 months ago

I just made a batch. When baking, a lot of oil came to the top and made it look like it wasn’t cooking properly. I drained off the off, at least a quarter cup, and continued baking — it took about 15 minutes today. The only change I made to th recipe is I used walnut butter rather than almost butter.

FlyNavyWife
7 years 10 days ago

I just made some (slightly altered the recipe) and oil came to the top of mine too… I think that’s normal. If you let it cool for 20 minutes or so, the oil soaks back in making them totally moist and yummy.

Zen Frittata
7 years 8 months ago

I would have to change out the pecans (disgusting) and if you aren’t careful just about every whey protein is chalked full of sucralose which destroy’s my stomach anyways.

While a good idea, I will stick to jerky and nuts. Much easier to make.

kevin  krautsack
kevin krautsack
6 years 8 months ago

get dr mercolas pro optimal whey or mircle whey its grass fed and tastes really good. all flavors except the mircle whey – strawberry are great

Bre
Bre
2 years 10 months ago

Herbalife makes one allergen free protein that is vanilla flavored. No soy, dairy, or any of that junk. May be worth checking out. Just make sure you specifically look up the allergen free protein powder.

trackback

[…] Look at this Primal Energy Bar Recipe over at Mark’s Daily Apple – those bars look delicious! Published […]

Tee
Tee
7 years 8 months ago

What would one use if they did not have a micro wave? I moved about three years ago and decided to leave my micro wave and not get a new one. Have not missed it till now.

Can’t wait to try these.

Marcus5
Marcus5
5 years 6 months ago

Lessee…how about a stove? Fire? Hot pavement? Magnifying glass under the sun?

Dave
Dave
7 years 8 months ago

Any ideas where to get dried blueberries or cranberries that don’t have added sugar? I checked the label on both at the store and was surprised to find they were sweetened with cane sugar (or cane juice can’t remember). I had to look far and wide to find unsweetened shredded coconut. It ain’t easy being primal in a added sugar and everything contains grain products world!

FlyNavyWife
7 years 10 days ago

no idea… that’s why I’m desperate for a food dehydrator.

April
April
6 years 6 months ago

Hello,

You can find dried fruit with no added sugars (or anything else for that matter) from justtomatoes.com

They make all types of dried fruits and vegetables and don’t add any oils or sugars. I’ve found them at my local Whole Foods too (the website has a store locator too)

Hope this helps πŸ™‚

Amanda
Amanda
5 years 2 months ago

I think most co-op health food stores should have unsweetened cranberries and unsweetened coconut in their bulk items area…

Amanda
Amanda
5 years 2 months ago

Oh, and also check out Bob’s Red Mill for unsweetened coconut!

http://www.bobsredmill.com/shredded-coconut.html

Rae
Rae
4 years 6 months ago
If you are up for a little extra work, I recommend buying baby thai coconuts (about $1 to $2 each yeilding 8 to 12 oz water and 3/4 to 1 cup chopped meat)for both fresh coconut water (delicious!) and your raw, unsweetened coconut meat. For the easiest way to open and retrieve the water and meat see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THEdI_gSNQ4 Once opened, drain off the coconut water, get a spoon and scrape out the meat. Place meat in food processor to finely chop. If you want, place chopped raw coconut meat into a non-stick pan over med-high heat, stir frequently and it… Read more »
Son of Grok
7 years 8 months ago

Dave,
I have not been able to find unsweetened cranberries (the only company that sells them online has a 4 pound minimum!). Believe me, I have looked pretty thoroughly.
As for blueberries, you can find them most anywhere freeze dried. I order mine by the can online from a company called Honeyville Grain (lol I know grain in the name.. ironic right?). They have good almond flour too.

The SoG

Pete
7 years 8 months ago

Steve,
Re: Unsweetened protein powders.
I actually blogged about this yesterday if you want to check it out. http://trainsmarteatright.blogspot.com/2009/01/are-you-getting-enough.html

Mark Sisson
7 years 8 months ago

Andrea – We just used the FitDay volume measurements. If we used 1/2 cup I put 1/2 cup into FitDay. I hope that answers your question.

trackback

[…] at a board far, far away). I just found this and I thought it looked pretty solid and versatile. Primal Energy Bar Redux: Making a Better Bar | Mark’s Daily Apple __________________ You’re officially invited to come visit my new blog: […]

Brandon
Brandon
7 years 8 months ago

Whats the protein count on this if you opt to not use the unsweetened whey powder, or what is a good substitute?

I have no idea where to get unsweetened whey, except for the website above, and I really want to make these tomorrow haha I will probably more than likely order a jug of the custom true protein stuff, but I dont want to wait x amount of buisness days to make it when I can go get all the ingredients besides that on my way home from work tomorrow.

Andrea
7 years 8 months ago
I made them! With modifications as people are wont to do, of course… Here are my ingredients: 80g toasted ground almonds 50g toasted chopped walnuts 30g toasted ground coconut 50g almond butter 2tsp vanilla 60g whey (mix of choc and plain) 2 omega3 eggs 1tsp salt 1/2 tsp cinnamon 28g freeze dried blueberries 40g chopped dark chocolate ~10 drops liquid stevia What happened: I followed instructions but only chopped walnuts instead of grinding. Mixing with the extra egg was fine, since I omitted the coconut oil (was afraid of the extra runoff reported above). What went wrong: oven temp a… Read more »
Dave
Dave
7 years 8 months ago

I made them yesterday. They were great but a little crumbly coming out of the pan. I think I’ll add an extra egg next time. I used Agave nectar instead of honey. I also used vanilla protein powder which was all I had on hand. I’ll definitely be making these again!

Lizzy
Lizzy
5 years 27 days ago

I added two eggs and a little more coconut and they crumbled less for me. I also think not toasting the nuts/coconut too much or not toasting them at all can help that. Oh and I added 1/4 c butter, heh. These are like cookies to me, have to try not to eat too many. πŸ™‚

Brandon
Brandon
7 years 8 months ago

I made these today, I dont know what I did wrong, but they didnt turn out for me…Ill stick to jerky and trail mix…

Andrea
7 years 8 months ago

Brandon,
If they were too tough (like mine), keep the baking time/temp to 10min and 325 and no more – you’ll be tempted to overbake which does even worse things with these bars than it does to brownies. Turns them into bricks!

If you think you might have overbaked a little, take them directly from the oven to the freezer or a snowbank outside to halt the cooking. On your counter it will keep cooking for at least 5 minutes as it starts to cool….

Brandon
Brandon
7 years 8 months ago

No, it was taste. Probably the whey powder I used. I tend to fail at primal baking. With the exception of meats, all I can really bake is primal banana bread. Im better at stovetop.

naughtyzebra
naughtyzebra
7 years 3 months ago

Primal banana bread sounds tasty…got the recipe on hand?

Dimone
Dimone
3 years 6 months ago
Here you go! I don’t remember exactly where I found this so I can’t give due credit, but I’ve been using it for months now and it’s awesome! The bread stays moist, even if its left out for two weeks… In the fridge it can last for around three, but any more and you’re pushing it. I prefer using sunflower seed to replace the almond, but that’s because I’m a picky paleo πŸ™‚ To me, its very sweet, filling, and almost addictive… Using an 8in X 5in baking pan makes the bread around 1in to 1.5in in width, but its… Read more »
Susan
Susan
3 years 4 months ago

Thanks for the wonderful bread recipes πŸ˜‰

trackback
7 years 8 months ago

[…] Energy Bar recipes Just thought that I would link to some really tasty energy bars. Primal Energy Bar Redux: Making a Better Bar | Mark’s Daily Apple Son of Grok ? Blog Archive ? Recipe: SoG Primal Peach Patties Son of Grok ? Blog Archive ? Recipe: […]

katherine
katherine
7 years 8 months ago

I loved the original recipe, but was definitely excited to try new version to get the added protein. I followed recipe to a T but left out the honey and used Jay Robb vanilla whey powder instead of unsweetened. It came out really dry and crumbly, not moist and sweet like the original πŸ™ I think I’ll make another batch and cut the baking time in half, see if it helps cuz I really want to make it work!

trackback

[…] dietary recommendations (Mark’s carb curve), really-quick breakfast, homemade primal energy bar and chili and tomato sauce (and stumbling blocks), some unheralded primal foods, veggies are our […]

CareBear
CareBear
7 years 8 months ago

I tried to make these this morning but they came out super oily and not very tasty. I have to admit, I can’t see myself eating these but feeding them to the squirrels instead.

Any ideas?

Matt
Matt
7 years 8 months ago
I have been using Optimum Nutrition’s 100% Whey Protein – Gold Standard for many years. It seems to have a better taste than most protein powders. Of course I have only used the chocolate so I’m not sure about the other flavors. Last time I needed to order some I noticed they now have the same powder sweetened with stevia. It’s called 100% Whey Protein – Gold Standard (natural). It’s not very sweet at all. It has a very light but pleasant chocolaty taste. I like to mix it with 3/4 cup of cold water and 1/4 cream for a… Read more »
Andrea
7 years 8 months ago

Matt, ON also makes a variety called “AnyWhey” which is meant for cooking and is completely unflavored/sweetened.

That might be just the ticket here.

FWIW, I find the best prices on most of my supplementy things at LuckyVitamin.

Nichole
Nichole
7 years 8 months ago

I absolutely love these bars however, they are coming out crumbly and I have to eat them with a spoon. Does anyone have any suggestions to make them more “bar” like?

Thanks

EL
EL
7 years 2 months ago

This is a LATE reply but I’ve made this recipe a few times and found that adding an extra egg to the recipe helps it hold together better.

Mark Sisson
7 years 2 months ago

Thanks for the suggestion, EL.

Scott Stewart
Scott Stewart
7 years 8 months ago
Mark, My two teen-age boys have been a challenge when it comes to wholesome snacks so I was delighted when I made a batch of your Primal Energy Bar (Redux) yesterday, so tasty I left very little for them and will be doubling up on the recipe in future. I substituted dried gooseberries for blueberries, added some walnuts & macadamians to the almonds – it solidified nicely and no excess oil as others have previously noted. These will be added to their school lunches along with the jerky (beef & salmon) I’ve been making for some time. I’ve yet to… Read more »
ALK
ALK
7 years 7 months ago

I’d just like to say that I made this a couple days ago without the egg, protein powder or toasting anything and tried it uncooked and it tasted even better than the cooked version. I now eat it in the mornings as a breakfest along with black tea.

Jason Turnage
Jason Turnage
7 years 7 months ago
I’ve made these twice now in the past couple of weeks. Good stuff, thanks Mark. I did not use shredded coconut, but I did use coconut oil. My first batch I used a few extra almonds and pecans to make up the difference. The second batch I subbed sunflower seeds which weren’t bad (though they were salted.. just used bagged stuff, not the best). Used a full dose of chocolate whey protein powder instead of unsweetened which gave it a good chocolate kick without using the dark chocolate (although I would have rather gone unsweetened with dark chocolate, probably next… Read more »
Jude
Jude
7 years 7 months ago

Mark,

Can you break down the fat content and let us know what of the 15.4g is saturated fat? I know there’s an option on http://www.myfitnesspal.com to get just saturated fat but I’m not familiar with FitDay.

Thanks,

– Jude

Worker Bee
Worker Bee
7 years 7 months ago

Hi Jude,

The saturated fat content per serving (1/12 of the entire batch) is 5.6 grams. The entire batch contains 67.1 grams of saturated fat.

Jude
7 years 7 months ago

Thanks Worker Bee!

I’m currently on the P90X Fat shedding stage so watching my intake of saturated fat. That’s not too bad at all though =)

David Chambers
David Chambers
7 years 6 months ago

Sounds delicious!

I entered all the ingredients into fitday, and came up with wildly different numbers (much higher carbs). Can you post the details, by ingredient, if you have them?

Thanks!

Lifetime
Lifetime
7 years 5 months ago

any good substitute for coconut oil?

Lifetime
Lifetime
7 years 5 months ago

I know I’m a bit late on the postings, but I tried a batch tonight. I followed the recipe and only came out to about 5 bars…and they didn’t hold together that well. Any advice from those who have already made a batch? At least they taste good!

trackback

[…] cracked pepper ~6P Dinner (5:30) BBQ chicken thighs and fried zucchini ~4P, 2C, 10F Snack (8:30) Primal Energy Bar with the choc. chips melted in ~2P, 2C, 20F Totals-~22P, 9C, […]

michael
michael
7 years 4 months ago
some ingredients/processes that people might consider: 1. figs. if you food process dried black mission figs, they turn into a paste that’s a good base for mixing other chopped/processed things in — no need for other wet ingredients. 2. oats. in fact, in my first bar experiment (not using the recipe above, sorry, Mark) the fig glop was a bit too wet, so i food processed organic rolled oats into a flour. as these are precooked and dried, they’re fine to eat. 3. quinoa. quinoa is a grain high in protein and rather bland (or easily overpowered by fig), and… Read more »
Susan
Susan
3 years 4 months ago

You could also try prunes as well as the figs as moist binder.

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