in the kitchen with: jennifer chong’s fruit and nut bars

The weather has been looking up lately. Lots of days with nice sun, not too hot, have made me start to think about day trips I can take just to soak it all in. My husband always jokes with me that I’m like a Neapolitan mother because whenever we go anywhere I always pack lots of snacks away, as if we might risk dying of hunger on what could be as short as a one hour journey, immediately following breakfast, to a nearby place to go have lunch… Don’t laugh, you never know!   This week’s recipe for no-bake fruit and nut bars by graphic designer and lifestyle blog writer, Jennifer Chong, will be perfect for my next outing.  Lightweight, nutrient dense, and quick to make, I will be able to hide a few in my camera bag without a problem. If you make your own fruit and nut bars, let us know your tips or favorite combinations. –Kristina

About Jennifer: Jennifer Chong is a designer and photographer living in Long Beach, California. Originally from Georgia, Jennifer graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design with a bachelors degree in graphic design. In addition to design work, Jennifer is a passionate photographer.  You can often find her out capturing delectable eats and documenting her journeys near and far.  

In 2012, Jennifer was identified as one of the top people you should be following on Pinterest.  She has also partnered with brands like Anthropologie, American Express and Target as a curator and consultant.  In addition to her photography and design work, she writes a lifestyle blog focused on travel, food and design.

  When she isn’t working, she can be found playing beach volleyball, continent-hopping (four so far!) or searching for some delightful treats to devour!

See Jennifer’s recipe after the jump!

Fruit and Nut Bars


  • 20 pitted medjool dates
  • 1-2 cups of warm water
  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, divided (Set aside 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup coconut butter
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa nibs
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Set aside 2 sea spoons of shredded coconut and in a shallow bowl soak the pitted medjool dates for 5 mins.
  3. Drain medjool dates. Add soaked dates, almonds, shredded coconut, cocoa powder, coconut butter, maple syrup, cocoa nibs and salt into a food processor and pulse until ingredients are mixed – some almonds may not be fully chopped. (You can mix the ingredients further by hand after you’ve given it a few pulses if you wish)
  4. Scoop mixture onto lined baking pan and smooth out with hand until it’s level.
  5. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until firm.
  6. Lift the bars out of the pan and set on a cutting board. Use a large knife to cut into bars.
  7. Place bars in an airtight container, I like mine kept in the freezer or fridge.

Why Jennifer loves this recipe

It’s easy to make, tasty and a great healthy treat alternative (and less expensive) than buying bars from the grocery store. I live a very active lifestyle and have this incredible sweet tooth so this bar fills the needs for both post-workout snack or after dinner dessert. Make a batch, pop them in the freezer and anytime you need a quick bite you’re covered!


  1. YP says:

    Great idea– and easy to pack up for hikes and picnics!

  2. Stephanie says:

    Love this! Thank you for sharing! Is there anything I could use in place of the coconut?

  3. Thank you Kristina and Grace for having me! I hope everyone loves the recipe as much as I do!

  4. These look so yummy!

  5. Corey says:

    DELISH! I had luck with a recipe that combined dried apricots with dried strawberries, almonds, coconut, and molasses. I can’t give you proportions since I made it with what I had on hand, hence I yielded much smaller bars – fruit and nut bites I guess you could call them.

    I will definitely be trying these though. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. Ruth says:

    Oh I’m so making these!

  7. Lauren L says:

    What a great recipe and AMAZING photos! Jennifer seems like a really talented gal! ;D

  8. Mmmm, these bars look super tasty! Great job with the feature :)

  9. reb says:

    Anyway Figs could be subbed for dates?

  10. Lorraine tan says:

    This looks good! Do you happen to know how much calories are there in one bar?

  11. sherrie says:

    They look delicious. Attractive presentation!

  12. Great recipe! When you can’t snag enough time in the kitchen, I highly recommend Larabars. All natural and you can count the number of ingredients on one hand. Love.

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  14. Irving says:

    I like it when folks get together and share ideas.
    Great website, continue the good work!

  15. Isabelle says:

    What are cocoa nibs?
    Also is coconut butter the same as coconut oil?

  16. E says:

    It’s great to see a healthy recipe on here! These look delicious.

  17. HeidiRenee says:

    Can’t go cocoa, do you think I could skew toward a peanut butter version and still get it to work? Would the added water fight with the peanut butter? They sound amazing, would love to figure out a way to make it non-chocolate and still yummy…

  18. Nicole McCarthy says:

    Yum, mouthwatering! Love the styling and beautiful pics. Just a question about ingredients: I’m in Australia and I can’t say I ever seen “coconut butter” or “cocoa nibs” at supermarkets or health food stores. Is “coconut butter” the same as “coconut cream” (extra thick coconut milk in a tin)? or can I substitute butter (or is the idea to have it non-dairy). What’s a good substitute for “cocoa nibs”? Thanks,

  19. Cinzia says:

    very nice, thank you !! coconut butter the same s coconut oil but simply not melted ?? …thanks

  20. Kate says:

    I love this so much. I’m totally making these this weekend for my hike!

  21. @Isabelle
    Cocoa Nibs are from a roasted Cocoa Bean
    Coconut butter is not the same as coconut oil – I like this one

    @Heidi Renee
    I think these would actually probably still be very good without the cocoa powder or nibs. I like chocolate so I went for both, and the nibs add an extra bit of crunch. I think you could probably play around with adding some pb – but would have to test it!

  22. James Walker says:

    Oh wow!!!

    What can I say except that I want some.

  23. Caroline O'Reilly says:

    Sounds lovely. But could you please convert all these ingredients to metric. It’s a nightmare converting US measures to something else the rest of the world understands!

    1. Grace Bonney says:


      We’re a US-based blog, so we use the measurements that are most common here.

      But you can easily convert US measurements (I promise it’s not a nightmare) using this site:


  24. Judi powers says:

    What can you substitute for coconut butter for those of us who do not live in the city

  25. Marsha says:

    I just made these…delicious, very very good bars. I tried them in the vitamix which I wasn’t so successful with at first because I layered it wrong. But once I got that sorted out, amazing. Recipe needs to be tripled here. 8×8 inch pan. That lasts us an hour!!

  26. Alison Marie says:

    made these last night, and they were easy and excellent. the BF, who is an avid cyclist, said “these are better than my favorite Clif bar!”

  27. Jess says:

    Hi ! What do you suggest we use if we don’t want to add the shredded coconut?

  28. Jackie says:

    i just wanted to share a couple of thoughts on substituting. Instead of coconut I would think you could use slivered almonds or any kind of ground nut to sprinkle on top. A small amount of Cocoa Krispies or Rice Krispies could be added for a little extra crunch.
    If you don’t want the chocolate what about some malt powder? Also you can use peanut butter powder.

  29. Netty says:

    These are quite delicious! I found they were a quite crumbly, so I added more soaked dates, with a bit of the warm liquid, and I found they came together nicely.


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