Kristina * Choco-Cherry Almond Energy Bars

Kristina: “I was tired of the supermarket collection of energy bars, so I found a recipe that I could adapt to my own tastes. This is a super versatile recipe, and I make every batch a little different. They are way better than anything you could buy at the store!”

Kristina has it right — these are not your average energy bars. Puréed dates lend a natural sweetness and do a great job of holding everything together: the toasty almonds, the crunchy pecans, the rich cocoa powder, the dash of cinnamon, the bursts of chewy dried cherries. Chia seeds, which are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, add a subtle nut-like flavor and wonderful texture. Another highlight? Eight moist, crumbly bars take just 15 minutes to make — no baking involved. Pack one up for a healthy breakfast on the run, or an afternoon snack to keep you going until dinner.

Three Quick Questions…and Kristina’s Answers

It’s your last meal. What do you have?

Pizza, of course! Wood fired, thin crust, melted mozzarella and goat cheese, with lots of fresh basil.

Your kitchen is burning down. What’s the one thing you grab?

My cat, Marcel. He keeps a close eye on me while I cook.

Do you have a favorite cookbook?

My favorite cookbook is probably The Moosewood Restaurant Cooking for Health. It was my first vegetarian cookbook, and I always turn to it when I’m out of meal ideas. Another top pick would be Super Natural Every Day, by Heidi Swanson. She’s the author of the cooking blog 101 Cookbooks, and I’ve never made a recipe of hers that I haven’t liked.

No-Bake Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Energy Bars
Recipe type: Appetizer/Sides, Breakfast
Author: Adapted from Vegetarian Times’ Raw Chocolate-Chia Energy Bars
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 8
Loaded with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, these bars make for a delicious and satisfying on-the-go treat. If you don’t think your food processor can handle the dates, you can soak them in water for an hour beforehand to soften them up.
  • 1½ cups pitted, dried dates
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup whole chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • optional: sprinkle of sea salt
  1. Purée dates in food processor until a thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla and almond extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add the almonds and pecans; pulse until nuts are well incorporated into date mixture. Stir in dried cherries.
  2. Spread large sheet of wax paper on work surface. Transfer date mixture to wax paper, and press mixture into 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. If desired, you can even out the edges by trimming them with a knife. Wrap tightly in wax paper, and chill overnight.
  3. Unwrap block, and cut into 8 bars. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt (if using). Re-wrap each bar in wax paper and refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container.
  4. Two more variation ideas from Kristina:
  5. Blueberry, Pistachio and Crystallized Ginger Bars: same as above but omit cinnamon; sub chopped pistachios for almonds and pecans; sub dried blueberries for dried cherries; stir in 1/8 cup chopped crystallized ginger after mixture is blended
  6. Cranberry-Orange Walnut Bars: same as above but omit cinnamon and almond extract; sub chopped walnuts for almonds and pecans; add 1/2 teaspoon orange zest; sub dried cranberries for dried cherries
Google Recipe View Microformatting by Easy Recipe


  • Love this combination of flavors- dried cherries are a favorite! And how cute is it that Kristina’s cat is her kitchen buddy?!

    • Kathryn

      SO cute. And Marcel is probably the best name for a cat, ever. : )

      • Laurie

        I don’t know about that my rescue who is part main coon and 24 pounds is Arnold!

    • M. Bunkley

      Loved them! Thanks for the recipe.. I will be making more.

  • Keith

    Just caught myself trying to eat the computer screen; these look incredible!

  • Can’t take my eyes off from the screen…they look fabulous!

    • Kathryn

      Angie, they are so good! I am hooked!

  • Yum! I made basically the same thing but as a ball – what a tasty snack. Add some protein powder and you’ve got the nutritional equivalent of a Clif Bar!

    • Kathryn

      Protein powder, that’s a great idea. That’s what I love about these — it’s so easy to mix up the ingredients/flavors!

  • These look like such a wonderful healthy treat, I should make these instead of the cookies and other snacks I keep at work!

    • Kathryn

      They are so good! I promise you won’t miss the cookies too too much :)

  • anne

    can you use raw cacao powder instead? also – do you have to use dates? i don’t like them :(

    • Kathryn

      Anne, raw cocoa powder would be totally fine. As far as a substitute for dates go, how about dried figs? I think they would work really well, just make sure you cut off the stems. Might also be a good idea to soak them for an hour or so in water and drain before using, just to soften them up a bit :)

      • Ali

        Dried grapes may be also good.

  • I just made something so similar to these but added a pinch of cayenne so I could call them “Hot Date Bars”!! Yum!

    • Kathryn

      Ooh, very nice touch! I’m sold on the name alone!

  • These look so delicious, like larabars but homemade!

    • Kathryn

      Very similar. But you know homemade is almost always better! : )

  • Molly G

    Could you rolls these up into balls instead of cutting them into bars?

    • Kathryn


  • […] Cherry Energy Bites Source: Dramatic Pancake Printable […]

  • brenna

    Would you be able to bake these? I’m allergic to raw fruit, but baking breaks up the protein. These look phenomenal and I would love to try them.

    • Kathryn

      Brenna, unfortunately I don’t think these will turn out well baked, but I did find a baked bar recipe that looks to have a very similar base, and I bet you could very easily change up the nuts/seeds and fruit combo, and add in some cocoa powder if you like chocolate :) Hope this helps!


  • Karen Nelson

    I just made these, in the fridge! Can;t wait to sample…

    I am thinking they are about 200 calories per servng, did you happen to calculate?

    • Kathryn

      Excellent! I found myself sneaking bites here and there as I was making them, so I’m impressed you held out! : ) I haven’t calculated the nutrition stats, but I would say 200 per bar is a good guess.

  • Suzanne

    At the risk of sounding silly… When are the cherries added? Does it matter?

    • Kathryn

      Ahh! Not silly at all. Just a slip-up on my part! Just updated the recipe, but the cherries should be mixed in last (and not pulsed in the blender). Thanks for catching this, Suzanne — sorry about that!

  • […] This recipe was adapted from “The Dramatic Pancake”. […]

  • kriffer

    Has anyone figured out the nutritional value of these? Especially the calories and fat.

    • Kathryn

      Hi Kriffer – Since there have been some questions regarding nutrition facts, I did a little math and.. each bar has about 240 calories. The only fat they have comes from the nuts – not much, and it’s the good kind :)

  • kriffer

    Thanks for the information. I think I’ll cut them in half, 120 cal. sounds better for a snack. :) I’m making them today and can’t wait to taste them!

  • These look wonderful! I can’t wait to try them out!!

  • Christine

    What type of food processor did you use? Mine can’t seem to handle the dates.

    • Kathryn

      Hi Christine- if you’re having trouble you can soak the dates in water for about an hour (then drain) and they will soften right up! Hope this helps!

  • […] made these Choco-Cherry Almond Energy Bars the other week and they are fantastic!! What you see is the “before the fridge” […]

  • […] it when you’re sitting on your couch post-run eating a semi-failed batch of No Bake Chocolate Energy Bars with Sea Salt that you made the day before because you just felt the need to tweak a recipe? Is it […]

  • […] it when you’re sitting on your couch post-run eating a semi-failed batch of No Bake Chocolate Energy Bars with Sea Salt that you made the day before because you just felt the need to tweak a recipe? Is it […]

  • […] No-Bake Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Energy Bars | dramatic pancake | bring something to the table.  Posted by Rebecca Harrison at 10:25 pm […]

  • Heather

    How long can you store them for? Should they be in an airtight container? They look so yummy!

    • Kathryn

      Hi Heather! I think these will keep best for about a week, stored in an airtight container in the fridge. But, in my experience, they are usually gone after a few days! ;)

  • Sandy

    What about the carb count in these?

    • Kathryn

      Hi Sandy- I’m not sure what the exact carb count is, but since they’re designed to provide a quick source of energy they do have a fair amount of carbohydrates, mostly from the dried fruit.

    • Mims

      They look wonderful, but it would be nice to know Fat, Carbs, Fiber and Protein counts, If you are on Weight Watchers diet.

  • Melissa

    Thank you for this yummy recipe! The sea salt MAKES these. Question- do you use FRESH dates? And where do you buy them- in the produce section? I have never worked with dates before. I used dried and my bars were pretty crumbly(more like granola) but still good.

    • Kathryn

      Hey Melissa! You made the right call with the dried dates! If they came out too crumbly, next time try adding a teaspoon or so of water, or a few more dates. That should help everything stick together a bit better :)

  • How easy & delicious! Can’t wait to make these!

  • Mkelly

    I was wondering if you could use prunes instead of dates?

    • Kathryn

      Definitely! I think prunes would be great in these.

  • Byron Lynn

    Forgot to soak my figs so I ended up adding water to the mix….bars turned out a little wet, but the entire family loved them……going out to the front yard and pick figs today and try the receipe again using the figs instead of dates to see what we get….thanks!

  • cheryl

    I just made these with macadamia nuts instead of pecans, and added 3/4 cup of shredded coconut, (0rganic/non sweetened) and 1 tsp of almond extract, no vanilla.
    They are absolutely awesome!. Although quite expensive. But worth it. Will make me savor, and not eat them too fast!!. Thank YOU

    • Kathryn

      Hi Cheryl, glad they came out well! ENJOY!

  • Sue

    Just made these and they are beyond awesome! Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve been buying something similar at my local health food store and they are so expensive and these are actually better with the cherries.

  • Elaine

    Love the spelling of your name-my daughters is exactly the same. Any ideas for a substitute for the cocoa powder? Maybe vanilla protein powder?

  • Tat

    I hate, I mean hate dates and have issues with figs. I know call me crazy plenty of people have and there are some questionable photo’s out there to prove it ; ) However I just made these for my kids and had to taste them for quality assurance of course and have to say these are frikkin amazing. Much nicer than the energy bars with oats. I could not taste the dates it just tastes like yummy gooey chocolate cookies without sugar, fat, flour and eggs. I did not have the cherries so left them out or chia seeds so I added a few poppy seeds (sorry not sure how many could not be bothered to count them all LOL). Thank you so much I love them and this is coming from a serious chocoholic baking addict who really needs rehab. Thank you and by the way, I am leaving you in my last will and testament when I am rich and famous.

  • Tat

    Ooops it is the crazy chocoholic woman again. Sorry I am not sure how my email got listed up there for every nutter to see (might attract some like minded souls LOL) Could you please remove my email. Remember I am leaving all my earthly possesions to you. Cheers!

    • Kathryn

      Ha! You made my day with your comment. I, too, am a crazy chocoholic woman in need of rehab. Glad I could help enable the addiction! Oh, and email address removed :)

      • Tat

        Oh Katheryn, thanks for that…and the recipe again : )))))))

  • I have looked at a lot of no-bake energy bars, but this one looks really different from anything else I’ve seen, and it looks really delicious! Can’t wait to try it!

  • […] No-Bake Chocolate Cherry Energy Bars from Dramatic Pancake Filed Under: Chocolate, No Bake, Quick and Easy, Slider Tagged With: cheesecake, Chocolate, cream pie, dessert, easy, mini, no bake, recipe Next PostPrevious PostAlmond Shortbread Cookies […]

  • […] inspiration for this recipe is from Dramatic Pancake’s No Bake Energy Bars Rate this:Share this:Email Pin ItShare on TumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like […]

  • These look fantastic! But I live in Nairobi and can’t get chia seeds. Can you suggest a substitute? Thanks!

    • Kathryn

      Hi Dara- I would recommend flax seeds or the the same amount of ground almonds.

  • […] Coco-Cherry Almond Energy Bars from Dramatic Pancake Filed Under: Chocolate, Everyday, Holiday, No Bake, Quick and Easy, Slider Tagged With: almond, ball, candy, Chocolate, easy, graham cracker, no-bake, recipe, wafers Next PostPrevious PostPeanut Peanut Butter Oat Cookies […]

  • I just made these today. They were a hit. Both kids and adults loved them. Thank you the recipe.

  • […] No Bake Chocolate Cherry and Almond Energy Bars […]

  • […] grab and feel full for hours. So here’s a simple recipe I found on a food blog I follow, Dramatic Pancake. My favorite part about this recipe it that you can get very creative! Trying switching the […]

  • […] grab and feel full for hours. So here’s a simple recipe I found on a food blog I follow, Dramatic Pancake. My favorite part about this recipe it that you can get very creative! Trying switching the […]

  • Tessa

    Is there a substitute for the chia seeds? I can’t find them in my local store and would rather not use them if I don’t have to

    • Kathryn

      Flax seeds or the same amount of ground almonds should do the trick!

  • […] Coconut-Cherry Bars […]

  • […] Coconut-Cherry Bars […]

  • Betty

    Just made these, substituted adding chocolate protein powder along with cocoa powder, combination of raisins, dried cherries, and cranberries, also added sunflower seeds, omitted chia never had any and it was totally delish. Cut in smaller size bars for snacking! Thank you for posting.

  • I just made a slight variation of these, but they are delicious! I used dried cranberries instead of cherries, dry oats in place of the almonds and pecans (just didn’t have any on hand), a mixture of chia and flaxseed, and an extra 1/4 cup of cranberries. They are so good! I’ve been finding so many recipes lately for bars such as these. I will never buy snack bars again, I will always make them. Thanks for posting a great recipe!

  • Raine

    I used this recipe as a guide, but I did do some variations. Instead of dried prunes, I used Zante Currants. I didn’t use dried cherries, either. I added about 1/3 cup of nutella and 2 large bananas, as well as a drizzle of honey. Once blended, I popped it in muffin tins and baked at 300 until firm. Thank you for the inspiration, its all I make now instead of buying store-bought! Love it!

  • […] Choco-Cherry Almond Energy Bars (dramaticpancake.com). "This is a super versatile recipe…these are not your average energy […]

  • Sharon

    Just made these this past week and between myself and the kids we’ve devoured them all! They are delish!

  • Katie D.

    Hi! I’ve made these a couple times and I LOVE them! I’m going to make the blueberry/pistachio/ginger variation next, but I couldn’t find pistachios at the store today. Would that variation be good with almonds still? Or I have pecans, walnuts, and cashews, too. What do you recommend? Thanks!!

  • […] blev dock en nykomling: http://www.dramaticpancake.com/2012/03/kristina-no-bake-chocolate-cherry-and-almond-energy-bars/ men eftersom vi inte hade några körsbär så blev det tranbär istället. Barsen får en lite […]

  • […] Recipe and Photo credit to dramaticpancake.com […]

  • […] This past week was undeniably one of the busiest weekends I’ve had in a long time, and I do mean long. I mean, probably not since high school long. Between chaperoning at a school dance and then a staff party and after-party the next night, I actually enjoyed the few priorities of Sunday. I did some baking  of pine nut cookies, which turned out awesome! I also made a some protein packed snacks for the family, as protein is the most difficult nutriotional source we, as humans, have trouble getting enough of on a daily basis. So we have protein poppers, quinoa protein bars, and choco-cherry almond energy bars. […]

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  • Hollie

    I just made a variation of these bars substituting cashews for almonds and apricots for cherries with coconut essence instead of almond. They are incredibly tasty, just like raw chocolate brownies. Thanks for the recipe, I’ll be sure to use it again.

  • […] Recipe information + variations found here. […]

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  • Made these today and I’m OBSESSED!!!

  • Suzanne King

    Since these are protein bars, would be nice to have nutritional info, esp how much protein in each.

  • Stephanie

    I’ve made these a few times already and they are sooooo good! Has nutritional informal ever been figured out for these?

  • Everything is very open with a prrcise explanation of the challenges.
    It was really informative. Your site is very useful.

    Many thanks for sharing!

  • Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else can I write that kind of information in such a perfect approach to get? I have a company that I’m just now working on, and I look for more of these.

  • […] Choco-Cherry No Bite Energy Bars from Dramatic Pancake  […]

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  • I love this type of thing. The blueberry pistachio variation sounds divine, too!

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