Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
8 Jan

Primal Energy Bar Redux: Making a Better Bar

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:


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


  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 ¼ 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

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

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. Just letting you know I found this recipe which is almost exactly the same as yours. Kind of a bummer that they didn’t give MDA more credit.

    Liz wrote on July 25th, 2013
  2. Amazingly delicious!! I am a pastry chef (the one that uses alot of the “no” foods listed in the Paleo lifestyle guides). These bars can easily replace any other energy bars I USED to making using oatmeal and other grain products.
    Congratulations!!! I am sold.

    Nat wrote on September 27th, 2013
  3. Quick question for you Mark,

    I added dried Goji berries, instead of the blueberries, after following the recipe to the letter, they came out super dry (there was no oil on top when i removed them from the oven as had happened first time around without any berries), I think the Goji berries soaked up the oil, leaving very little in the mix to hold it together, any suggestions to prevent this?


    Christian wrote on September 30th, 2013
  4. We should all try and wake our inner caveman…getting back to basics is a great way to flush out life’s toxins and get your inner self back!

    Paul Walsh wrote on October 20th, 2013
  5. Can the protein powder be left out or replaced with something else?

    Mani wrote on January 8th, 2014
  6. This is a tasty recipe, but not the direction I went. I used a almond butter and date base, I added hempseed and tart cherries.These are my favorite bars. They are full paleo and they taste delicious. I also throw in some dehydrated organic grass fed beef..

    Alex Bonesteel wrote on March 3rd, 2014
  7. I made the recipe exactly as stated but mine were very crumbly and would not hold together. I did like the taste, however.

    Any suggestions???

    danielle weiner wrote on July 24th, 2014
  8. Hi Danielle – I had the same problem – what I did was use an extra egg and split the yoke and the white. The white I added to the general mixture as “glue” and the yoke I painted on top with a little food brush so the coconut shreds stick better and don’t fall off all over the place! I put it on just before I put on the coconut – then back in. If that makes sense 😉 Good luck hope it works for you :)

    Charlie wrote on July 25th, 2014
  9. Great flavor, but definitely too crumbly to eat as a bar. I did not use the 1/2 tsp honey, as my whey protein powder was sweetened. I also subbed chopped dried apricots for the berries because I couldn’t find any dried cranberries or blueberries that were unsweetened. There was some oil on the top after baking, as several people have mentioned, but I sifted some plain unsweetened cocoa powder on top instead of the additional toasted coconut.

    In the end, I simply spooned the mixture into a 2-cup measuring cup, packed it down, and will eat approx 1/12 as a snack! This was way too much work. I’m just as happy with a handful of nuts or a square of extra dark chocolate!

    Joelle wrote on October 24th, 2014
  10. My wife and I do quite a lot of hiking and long distance backpacking and have been trying to get my on-trail food plan to the primal stage. One to the biggest challenges is that the commercial food bars are carb bombs. I’ve tested this recipe and am certain that these bars will not hold up in a bear canister for 7-9 days. Will pay around and report back. We’ve used soaked flaxseed in the past as a binder and that may work here. I’ll report back

    ~Wanderin’ Jack

    Wanderin' Jack wrote on November 29th, 2014
  11. Wanderin’ Jack: be very careful with flax. It contains more estrogen than any plant food, hundreds of times more than soy. There are links to info about the dangers of flax in my blog post here:

    Judy Barnes Baker wrote on November 30th, 2014
  12. Hey Mark, not sure if you are affiliated with these guys or not, but I just found your recipe copy and pasted nearly word for word on another site about a month ago with no credit given to you.

    Thought you might like to know:

    Jimmy A wrote on January 15th, 2015

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