Tahini Energy Bars: Fueling athletes for 40 (!!) years
We first published this recipe for these tahini-based energy bars a few years ago. This recipe was created by the owner of The Bakery in New Paltz, NY where we train. He created in the 70’s and it is still sold at the shop to this day. After buying some last week, we thought we'd make them again, add some new photos and republish the recipe. They are that good! 40+ years of fueling hungry athletes!
My previous attempts at DIY energy bars had all ended at the grocery store. I would walk in with a long list of ingredients, and walk out with a half-dozen pre-packaged, healthy-enough snacks from the aisle full of options. Baking bars had been high on my should-do list for years, but why spend time cooking something I could buy so easily?
Because after awhile all the packaged bars start to taste the same. A quick search pulled up the recipe I’d thought about for years: The Bakery’s energy bar recipe that Melissa scored for a Runners World Story. Savory with tahini, sweet with honey, and supercharged with nuts and seeds, these are the only bars I've ever had that fill me up for three or four hours. The Bakery is in New Paltz and is a favorite refueling destination for climbers, cyclists and runners.
Every ingredient in the bars is naturally gluten free so I didn't have to fuss over substitutions. But I did tinker with the recipe to incorporate my Athlete Food staples: coconut oil, ground flax seeds for omega-3's, and pumpkin seeds.
The Bakery shapes the bars individually. I shaped half of my batter and spread the rest out in a sheet pan and then cut them like brownies. The shaped bars cooked much more evenly and held together much better, so form them before baking if you have five extra minutes.
These bars are so addictively tasty that I had to freeze them to stop myself from polishing off the whole batch. Can’t say I’ve ever had to exercise restraint on a packaged bar, even the ones laced with dark chocolate.
The Bakery’s Energy Bars
Two sets of measuring cups come in handy here. If you only have one set, measure out the dry ingredients before greasing the measuring cups.
Time: 30 minutes, plus 20 minutes baking
1 teaspoon olive oil, for greasing the pan and measuring cupsShaped Bar
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cups tahini
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 cup dried tart cherries (or pitted dates, chopped, which is what the original recipe calls for)
2 cups rolled oats
1 cup unsweetened dried coconut
½ cup raw almonds, coarsely chopped
½ cup roasted cashews, coarsely chopped
½ cup sesame seeds
½ cup pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a baking sheet and a 1-cup and ½-cup measuring cups with the teaspoon of olive oil. Greasing the measuring cups prevents the honey and tahini from sticking.
Stir together the honey, tahini, vanilla, coconut oil, and sea salt in a very big bowl. Add the cherries, oats, coconut, almonds, cashews, and the sesame, pumpkin, and ground flax. Combine well.
Shape into bars using wet hands so the dough doesn’t stick.
Or, spread batter into a one-inch-high rectangle on the greased baking sheet. Cut into 12 2” x 3” bars. Pat the larger stray pieces back onto the bars.
Bake until the edges are golden, 15 - 20 minutes. Set a timer so the bars do not over bake!
Let cool completely. Store in an airtight container for 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.