Vanilla Espresso Date Energy Bars
These nut-free and vegan, no-bake vanilla espresso date energy bars taste like a vanilla latte and are easy to make in minutes with just 4 healthy ingredients.
- soft and chewy texture with hints of vanilla, caramel and coffee
- no baking required, prepare in minutes with just 4 ingredients
- vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, no added sugar
- oats – quick or rolled oats both work, use gluten-free certified if needed
- dates – any variety works as long as they’re soft and moist, I like medjool or sayer dates best
- coffee beans – use your favourite regular or decaf whole coffee beans
- vanilla – good quality pure vanilla extract will make a big difference in the flavour of the bars but if all you have is artificial extract, that’s ok too
Complete list of ingredients and amounts is located in the recipe card below.
Step by Step Instructions
Step 1 & 2. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blend into a thick, sticky dough you can easily press between your fingers. Line a 7-8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper so it sticks out over the sides of the pan. Add the dough to the pan.
Quick Tip: If the mixture is too crumbly (this may happen if your dates were too dry) to pinch between your fingers, add 1 tsp warm water and process again. That should do the trick but if not, repeat 1-2 times until the dough reaches a sticky consistency.
Step 3. Use your hands to firmly press the dough into the pan, taking a few moments to really work it into the corners and smooth the surface.
Place the bars in the freezer for 1 hour to firm, then lift out of the pan, cut into bars and enjoy!
- Serving Size: This recipe can be made into 8 large energy bars or 16 smaller squares. I like to even cut the squares in half to make 32 bite-sized bars. That way I can grab just one or have a few!
- Dates: It’s important to use soft, moist dates. If your dates are overly dry, soak them (pitted) in hot water for 15 minutes then drain well before using in the recipe.
- Gluten-Free Option: The recipe is gluten-free as written but be sure to use gluten-free certified oats if needed.
- Caffeine: Be sure to use decaf coffee beans if you’re sensitive to caffeine or plan to enjoy these later in the day. The recipe only calls for 1/4 cup of beans so the amount of caffeine in each bar is quite low, however, it’s still something to be aware of.
- Additions: For sweeter bars, add up to 2 tbsp maple syrup. For a yummy treat, add up to 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips.
- Fridge: Up to 2 weeks in a sealed container.
- Freezer: Up to 3 months in a sealed container or freezer-safe bag. They don’t freeze solid so can be enjoyed straight from the freezer.
- Room Temperature: If taking to-go, the bars are fine at room temperature for up to 3 days or longer but they’ll start to get very soft. Freeze before hand then keep cool for best results.
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- Add all ingredients to a food processor and mix until it forms a thick, sticky dough you can easily pinch together between your fingers. If the mixture seems to crumbly (this may occur if your dates were too dry), add 1 tsp warm water and process again. That should do the trick, if not, repeat 1-2 times as needed.
- Line a 7-8 inch square baking pan with parchment paper so the paper sticks out over at least 2 sides of the pan. This will help you lift the bars out when they’re ready.
- Firmly press the dough into the pan, taking a few minutes to really work it into the corners and smooth out the surface. Place the pan in the fridge or freezer for at least 1 hour to firm. This isn’t totally necessary if you need the bars right away but I enjoy them when they’re a bit firmer.
- Lift the bars out of the pan and cut the bars into 8 large bars or 16 squares.
Dates: It’s important to use soft, moist dates in this recipe. If your dates are overly dry, soak them (pitted) in hot water for 15 minutes then drain well before processed with the recipe.
Substitutions: Oats can be replaced with cashews for a cashew coffee bar.
Additions: For sweeter bars, add up to 2 tbsp of maple syrup. For a treat, add up to to 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate.
Storing: Store in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks or freezer for up to 3 months. If taking to-go, they’re okay at room temperature for 1-3 days but will start to get soft, keep cool if possible for best results.
Caffeine: If you’re sensitive to caffeine, be sure to use decaf beans.
- Serving Size: 1 square
- Calories: 130 calories
- Fat: 0.8 g
- Carbohydrates: 29 g
- Protein: 2 g
Keywords: coffee energy bars, no-bake coffee bars, date energy bars
Originally published on August 8, 2017. Updated with new photos and text on November 2, 2020.