Easy homemade energy bars to sustain and share

Genevieve Ko
Los Angeles Times

Whether you’re out at the protests or helping feed those who are, you can bake a tray of these bars. Packed with protein and whole grains (and, of course, chocolate), these deliver energy and sustenance.

You can wrap them to pass out or carry around all day and slip a bite under your mask when you need a boost. This basic formula comes together easily and costs less to make than it does to buy a box of packaged bars at the supermarket.

Energy Bars

Note: Use your favorite dried fruit and nuts or seeds in these chewy, hearty peanut butter-based bars. You can swap other nut or seed butters for the peanut butter. If you’re using unsalted nuts and unsalted peanut butter, add 1 teaspoon kosher salt to the mixture.

Time: 45 minutes

Yields: Makes 8 bars

1/2 cup dried fruit

11/4 cups old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats

1 cup roasted salted nuts or seeds

1/2 cup chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 large egg

Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Line the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square pan with foil. Lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray.

To make the bars using a food processor, pulse the dried fruit if pieces are larger than raisins or dried cranberries. Add old-fashioned oats, the nuts and chocolate chips and pulse until the oats are broken into small pieces with some powdery bits and the nuts are coarsely chopped. Add the peanut butter, brown sugar, butter and egg and pulse until the mixture is well-mixed and comes together in a sticky mass around the blade.

To make the bars by hand, chop the dried fruit into 1/4-inch pieces. Coarsely chop the nuts and chocolate chips. Combine the chopped ingredients with quick-cooking oats in a large bowl. Add the peanut butter, brown sugar, butter and egg and mix well to form a sticky mass.

Drop the batter in large clumps to cover the bottom of the prepared pan. Wet your hands and firmly press the mixture to form an even layer.

Bake until golden brown and set, 30 to 35 minutes. The top should look dry and bounce back slightly when pressed. Cool completely in a pan on a wire rack. Using the foil, slide out of the pan onto a cutting board. Cut into eight 2-by-4-inch bars.

Honey Nut Energy Bars variation: Substitute honey for the brown sugar and proceed as above.

Make ahead: The bars can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.