A no-bake peanut butter energy bar with zero added sugar

This no-bake energy bar is a riff on a popular brand’s peanut butter bar, but with zero added sugar. Dates and peanut butter add natural sweetness, and tangerine juice adds just a touch of brightness and flavor, ensuring these bars satisfy the most intense snack cravings. They are filling! Because these bars aren’t baked, they are a little softer than a packaged energy bar. For a firmer texture, serve straight from the refrigerator. If packing in a lunch box, include an ice pack to maintain the bars’ texture.

Makes 12 bars

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned (rolled) oats
14 ounces Medjool dates, pitted (16 to 20 dates)
1 cup unsweetened peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed (optional)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed tangerine juice (from 1 small tangerine)

Instructions

Line an 8 × 8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches of overhang on each side.
Place 1/2 cup of the oats in a food processor and pulse until a coarse flour forms, about 1 minute.
Add the remaining 1 cup oats, the dates, peanut butter, flaxseed, if using, vanilla, and salt to the processor and process until the dates are finely chopped, scraping the side of the bowl if necessary. Process until the mixture starts to clump together, 2 to 3 minutes.
Drizzle the juice into the mixture and pulse until incorporated.
Press the mixture into the baking pan, using an offset spatula to firmly press it down into an even layer. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Cut into 12 bars, roughly 2 by 2 1/2 inches each.

What Kids Can Do

Kids can squeeze the juice and press the mixture into the pan.

Make Ahead

The bars will keep, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Nutrition Information

(1 bar): Calories: 266 | Added sugar: 0 teaspoons or 0g | Carbohydrates: 37g | Sodium: 98mg | Saturated fat: 6% of calories or 2g | Fiber: 5g | Protein: 7g