Chef John's Chocolate Energy Bars


If you compare these chocolate energy bars to similar fruit/nut bars sold at the store, I think they taste better, are nutritionally superior, and probably cheaper to make at home. The only problem is they look so good it takes your brain a millisecond to process that they're not going to taste like the fudge brownies they resemble.

Prep Time:
15 mins
Additional Time:
2 hrs 45 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs
12 bars


  • 2 cups pitted Medjool dates, roughly chopped

  • 2 cups raw cashews

  • 1 cup raw or roasted unsalted almonds

  • ¾ cup high-quality unsweetened cocoa powder (such as Guittard® Cocoa Rouge)

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

  • ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 tablespoon cold espresso, or more as needed (or water)

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • ½ pinch cayenne pepper


  1. Place cashews, almonds, coconut, dates, cocoa, coconut oil, vanilla, cold coffee, cayenne and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse on and off to start. Process about 1 minute; check to ensure mixture is sticky and moist enough to stick together. Add more coffee if needed. Continue to process until mixture becomes a chunky mass.

  2. Line a baking pan with plastic wrap. Scoop mixture into pan. Press down with a spatula until mixture is even. Place a layer of plastic wrap on the surface and smooth again with your hands.

  3. Refrigerate until cold and firm, 2 or 3 hours.

  4. Remove from the pan and unwrap. Cut into bars of your preferred size. Store in a zip top back in the refrigerator.


Cook's Note:

Try your hardest to find Medjool dates, but if you can't, any dried date should work, as long as it's soft and sticky enough. If the ones you're using seem too hard and dry, simply soak them in water until they soften up a bit.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

343 Calories
22g Fat
36g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 343
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 22g 28%
Saturated Fat 7g 36%
Sodium 230mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 7g 25%
Total Sugars 21g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 59mg 5%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 515mg 11%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

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