Confession #111: My organization is a mess… Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

by alexandra

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I would call myself an organized person. Really, I would. But sometimes, I have to wonder…

Because I’m also the person who leaves so many internet tabs open that I can’t see the icons on any of them anymore. And the person who works with stuff all over the table, which I won’t clean up until I’m completely done. And the person who occasionally finds that a recipe I wrote down a few weeks ago now looks like some sort of confusing combination of ingredients, steps, and baking times that I can’t be sure if I’m reading correctly.

Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

I’ll call it a good day if I sit down to write a post and have a fully legible recipe in front of me, even if it is a little messy. On a not-so-good day, I’m rummaging through the recipe drawer looking for that one recipe hidden somewhere in a mountain of the rest of them.

Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

I fully blame my misorganization  for the mess it’s been trying to finalize the recipe for these bars. I think I made these at least four times before I actually wrote the entire recipe down coherently. Can somebody please tell me how that happens with a 6-ingredient, 5-step recipe?? I have no idea.

Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

So now that I’ve officially made you guys all think I’m a mess, I hope you still trust me.  Because I promise these apple bars taste good, but they look like…  not much. We’re taking a bunch of brownish ingredients, throwing them together in a food processor, grinding them to bits, and then clumping it all together into bars. The possibility of making an attractive snack here is about zero. But here’s what I love about these – the healthy, nutrient-dense ingredient list. The easy recipe. The rich, nutty flavor of the pecans combined with the natural sweetness of dates. The tart apple flavor subtly blended in, perfect alongside the robust taste of cinnamon. Yup, these are good AND healthy. Don’t you love it when that happens?

Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

10-12 bars

Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars

Rich in the nutty taste of toasted pecans and naturally sweetened with dates, these Apple Cinnamon Energy Bars are flavor and nutrient-packed!

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces pecans (2 cups)
  • 5 3/4 ounces rolled oats (2 cups)*
  • 8 1/4 ounces pitted and halved dates (1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces chopped granny smith apples (or similar) (2 cups)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and spread the pecans and oats out on it in a single flat layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, until toasted and fragrant.
  3. Keep the oven preheated to 350°F. Line an 8" square pan or a 12" x 5 1/2" biscotti pan with parchment paper, leaving enough parchment on the sides to use as "handles" for pulling out the finished bars.
  4. Place the toasted nuts and oats in a food processor along with the dates, cinnamon, and salt. Process until the mixture is coarse and crumbly, with no large pieces remaining. Add the chopped apple and pulse in until there are no longer any large chunks left. Continue to process until everything starts to clump together, using a spatula if necessary to help move things around. This process may move slowly, but eventually everything should come together.
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan, using a wide, flat spatula to pat it down into a flat and compact layer that takes up the entire space of the pan. It helps to fold the extra parchment on the sides over the bars, and flatten with the spatula on top of the parchment (to prevent sticking). Be patient with this; the bars will look the exact same once they're done baking, so try to make them really flat and even.
  6. Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Cool for 10-15 minutes, and then slice into bars. Once completely cool, lift out of the pan. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Notes

*To make these bars gluten-free, use gluten-free rolled oats.

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{ 49 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura (Tutti Dolci) February 23, 2013

Love the flavors in these bars, they’d make a great afternoon snack!
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Rebecca February 25, 2013

It happens that energy bars and cereal bars are high up my To-Bake list ;) So I will definitly give these ones a try, too :D (I am addicted to everything with apples, can’t help it ;))
Take care!
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alexandra February 26, 2013

Awesome! I’d love to hear what you think if/when you get a chance to try them out. :)

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sandra rose February 25, 2013

You have me on these! They are my now absolute favorite of all breakfasts! And I really love the fact that they are so healthy! Thanks for the recipe!

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sally @ sallys baking addiction February 25, 2013

apples and cinnamon are one of the best combos on earth. I could use a bag of these bars at my office to get me through the afternoon. I love healthy snack bars like this!
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alexandra February 26, 2013

Cinnamon is good with so many different flavors!
I can just imagine you sitting at your work desk pulling out a big ziploc full of bars lol…

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Ashley February 25, 2013

I’m always looking for new homemade snacks – these sound great. Apples, cinnamon and pecans are always a great combo. And I totally do the same thing with too many tabs open on my browser. It gets ridiculous … and then it will crash and I’ll get really mad at myself for not saving anything lol.
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alexandra February 26, 2013

Thanks Ashley! I’ve definitely been through the whole computer/web browser crashes problem… SO frustrating! Except sometimes I think I’m secretly a little glad when just the web browser closes because it gets rid of all the tabs that I can’t quite get myself to close yet. :)

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Melinda @cookingalamel February 25, 2013

I’m also a mess when it comes to actually writing recipes down – when I finally do, it’s scribbled on the back of some random piece of paper, and I’m lucky to find it again. I think you succeeded with these bars, though, for sure! They look and sound fantastic. I’ll definitely be trying them ASAP. Especially since I gave in and bought Nature Valley’s apple crisp bars today cause I really wanted an apple bar.. I was meant to see this recipe!
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alexandra February 26, 2013

Exactly! It’s a really annoying problem and it would make life so much easier to just stay really organized. I think you were meant to see this recipe! I like making my own snack bars because then I know exactly what’s in them and I can make sure they’re actually healthy. :)

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Jocelyn @BruCrew Life February 27, 2013

I wish I could help you out, but I am quite the organizational mess myself. Half written notes, magazine recipe pages, post its, and a stack of bills are all over my desk right now. Maybe some good for me energy bars are what I need to motivate myself into some sort of routine and organized living! These bars sound great!!!
Jocelyn @BruCrew Life recently posted..Trick or Treat Tuesday #8My Profile

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alexandra February 27, 2013

Hah :) Well it’s good to know I’m know the only one! But I think that’s a smart plan: healthy snacks = healthier, more organized life, right?

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Riley March 2, 2013

These look so good and healthy! I was wondering if fuji apples would work as a substitute? And can I use raisins instead of dates? Just trying to use what I have at home without going to the store! haha also, what other spices can I use to replicate cinnamon? Thanks!

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Riley March 3, 2013

Never mind! Just went to the store!

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alexandra March 3, 2013

Great! I was going to try to help you out as best as I could, but that’s best that you just went out and bought all the ingredients. I have some other recipes using dates on the blog, if you have extra leftover! Cinnamon will always come in handy when you’re baking too. :)

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Kari March 11, 2013

Just made these and they are fantastic!!! Next time I may add raisins because I love to muck with things although they are perfect the way they are!!

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alexandra March 11, 2013

That’s awesome! Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me. :) I think raisins would be an awesome addition (although I would suggest adding them at the end if you don’t want them to get completely chopped up!)

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jeannette April 6, 2013

hi can you use other nuts or does it have to be pecan ?

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alexandra April 6, 2013

You can use another type of nut if you’d like. I would use the same about by weight if possible, but if you don’t have a kitchen scale, just match the volume measurement.

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Kristi Rimkus May 6, 2013

Fantastic and simple ingredients. Breakfast bars are often on our first of the morning list of foods, so I’m always looking for homemade recipes.
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alexandra May 9, 2013

Thank you Kristi. :) If you get a chance to try the bars out, I’d love to hear about it!

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jeannette October 8, 2013

hi
are you able to use other nuts . or just pecan ?

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alexandra October 9, 2013

Another nut should work just fine!

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Don Martin February 9, 2014

How many calories per bar? thanks.

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alexandra February 10, 2014

I don’t have that information, but you could easily figure it out by plugging the ingredients and amounts into a nutrition calculator online. Hope that helps!

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Emily February 20, 2014

Just made these to fuel my half-marathon training…talk about awesome! These are amazing. I love how healthy they are, way to ditch guilty snacking. I added some chia seeds just to boost the health factor even further. And an added bonus, my sister (who has a dairy-free diet) can eat these too!

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alexandra February 23, 2014

I’m so glad you liked them! Chia seeds seem to be all the rage recently, so I guess I should try adding them to some bars too. :)

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Jessica February 26, 2014

Hi! I made these last night with a few substitutes using what I had in my kitchen and they are awesome!! I put half the mixture in the pan, then a layer of natural peanut butter then the rest of the mixture on top before the final baking step. Delicious and so easy! Thank you and I adore your blog :)

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alexandra February 26, 2014

I love that idea of adding some peanut butter to the middle; now I’m thinking I need to make these again and try that out! Thanks so much for sharing your experience with the recipe. SO happy you liked it!

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Momma Buzz March 5, 2014

These sound really good. I’ve actually never used dates before and am not familiar with the texture. Do you think prunes might be a good addition, or maybe too soft? For some reason I’m thinking dates are more firm and would hold up better with this? I obviously don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. You must hate all of us “We’ll just overtake your recipe and use what we want, but ask you for your thoughts first” kind of people. Still I beg you, please and thank you :).

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alexandra March 5, 2014

Ahaha :) No hating but I still love what you just said. Anyhow, dates are definitely more firm but I don’t think prunes would necessarily screw things up texture-wise. What I would be worried about is the flavor change; prunes are more fruity and much less sweet.

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Momma Buzz March 6, 2014

I appreciate the feedback! I’ll just buy dates :) lol. Was looking for a way to get rid of some prunes. Buuuuut, I’m not enough of a risk taker to make these and them not turn out as good as they could have if I would’ve just done what you told us to do in the first place. :) Thank you Alexandra! FYI – found you via Pinterest, but loving everything I see!

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alexandra March 6, 2014

You’re very welcome! I’m so happy you found the blog. :)

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Megan March 10, 2014

Hi. I was just wondering if the bars are able to be frozen successfully? :)

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alexandra March 10, 2014

I haven’t done it myself, but I’m pretty confident that they would freeze really well. :)

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Megan March 10, 2014

Thanks. :D

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Puk April 8, 2014

Hey!
Do you have any idea of how many calories there are in one bar?
Thanks :)

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alexandra April 9, 2014

I don’t; I would suggest trying a recipe nutritional calculator online. :)

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puk April 9, 2014

okay, thank you!
they are delicious by the way

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Robin June 2, 2014

Thanks for this recipe! I made them with walnuts instead of pecans, as I’ve always liked the combo of dates & walnuts. Really good and satisfying– I will be making them again! I also used gluten-free oats. I plugged in the ingredients for a nutrition count, and for 10 bars, I got 285 calories, 47 g carbs, 9 g fat and 5.4 g protein per bar.

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alexandra June 17, 2014

I’m glad you liked them! And thanks so much for sharing the nutritional info for everyone who would like to know. :)

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Sara July 8, 2014

I just made these and they taste wonderful! I used one cup of walnuts and one cup of pecans, 2 fuji apples, and used a whole tablespoon of cinnamon. Unfortunately I don’t have a food processor, so my attempt to use my nutribullet really tested my patience! I am going to try to freeze about half of these bars, and see how they turn out!

When working out the calories, I got 12 bars that were 270 calories, with 5.3g of fiber, 5.5g of protein, 35.3g of carbs and 19.6g of sugar. Hope this helps!

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alexandra July 9, 2014

I hope they were worth bearing through that nutribullet! You’ll have to get your hands on a food processor for future endeavors. ;) Thank you for sharing the nutritional information!

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Robin August 15, 2014

I made these a few days ago and can’t stop eating them! Great snack, wonderful with coffee in the morning or for an afternoon pick up. I wanted to add I blended the oats and nuts in a blender and it worked fine, however I had to move the mixture to my ninja chopper and complete it in batches with the apples. Time consuming but worth it. Thanks for the recipe.

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alexandra August 18, 2014

I’m so glad you were able to make the recipe work with the tools you had on hand, and the fact that you love them is even better! :)

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Jessica September 16, 2014

Hey there! Do you leave the skin on the apple for this recipe or peel it off?

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alexandra September 18, 2014

You can leave the skin on. :)

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Cathy September 20, 2014

Hi there – just went apple picking and looking for a great way to use apples for lunchbox snacks for my daughter. But her school is nut free. Any thoughts on substituting the pecans? A mix of seeds instead? These look so yummy….

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alexandra September 23, 2014

Maybe a combination of more oats and some seeds? Essentially you just need something to keep the “dough” from being too moist from all the apples.

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