Energy bars for cycling no nuts, gluten-free, high protein #2

Energy bars for cycling no nuts, gluten-free, high protein #2

Energy bars perfect for a cycling snack while on the bike. This new energy bars recipe is based on a traditional panforte recipe but tweaked and created without nuts, gluten-free and perfect for a high protein snack when cycling. But you don't cycle. Then this energy bar is suitable as a post-workout snack, hiking snack or afternoon snack alternative to a cake or biscuit.

Made with simple ingredients, dried figs, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, quinoa flour (or your choice), honey, sugar, quinoa flour and spices. Mix and match to suit what you like or what you have on hand.

What does panforte taste like? A traditional Tuscan spiced dense fruitcake. Invented in Sienna, Italy. The monks would baked versions of this for the Crusaders to pack with them to munch on along their merry way. Usually coated with powdered sugar and made with honey, candied citrus, spices, nuts, and dried fruit. A snack made to last and super dense that it travels well and doesn't spoil. Pan forte translates to strong bread. Strong tasting and long lasting. Doesn't spoil outside of the fridge.

What is quinoa flour? Quinoa is naturally gluten-free, high in protein, calcium and iron. It is a great substitute for regular flour.

What to do if you find quinoa flour bitter? I would suggest toasting the flour on a low oven temperature for 60 minutes, tossing it around every 20 minutes to check you're not over baking it. Toasting the quinoa flour is an easy way to remove the bitter aftertaste. Quinoa flour is also perfect for pancakes, cakes, pastry, cookies and gluten-free bread due to its naturally high protein content. The protein in the quinoa flour helps give the bread structure. Try quinoa flakes as a light summer alternative to oats.

Takes = 15 mins
Bakes = 30 mins
Makes = 12-16 bars
Keeps = store 3-4 weeks in an airtight container


  • Dates or dried figs – 285g (about 2 cups)
  • Toasted pumpkin seeds – 75g (about 1/4 cup)
  • Sunflower seeds – 75g (about 1/4 cup)
  • Quinoa, Tapioca, white rice flour  – 20g (3 tbsp*)
  • Mixed spice – 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar – 100g (1/2 cup)
  • Honey or Maple syrup – 120ml (about 1/2 cup)
  • Water – 1 tbsp
  • Dark chocolate* – 150g approx. (or swap out for 2-3 tbsp of cocoa powder)


  1. PREHEAT oven 150˚C, Gas Mark
  2. TOAST nuts for 5-1o minutes and chop roughly then set aside to cool.
  3. PREPARE  square or rectangular slice tin greased and lined with baking paper. For ease I add edible paper to the base of the baking tin.
  4. WHISK flour, spices, seeds and nuts together in a large bowl.
  5. CHOP fruit into small pieces and then place into the bowl with the flour.
  6. HEAT and bring to a gentle boil water, liquid sweetener and sugar until dissolved and small bubbles are appearing 3-4mins. Using a bowl over a saucepan slowly melt the chocolate.
  7. QUICKLY pour over hot liquid  and chocolate into the bowl of flour and nut mixture and stir until combined. The liquid should be thick and sticky not too runny.
  8. POUR and spoon into your baking tin and press down firmly. You may need to wet your hands and to do this step or wet a large metal spoon.
  9. BAKE 25-30 minutes, be careful not to over-bake.
  10. COOL for 10 minutes before removing from the tin.
  11. COOL completely before slicing. I like making my into 40g bars for cycling energy and snack bars. I cut my square 6 x 4 = 24 pieces. To wrap them I cover in a small piece of baking paper, then a layer of aluminium foil. Watch the video tutorial to see step by step.

Sue Maree P Baking Tips

  • CHOCOLATE – I used Dr Oetker dark chocolate 54% perfect for this recipe.
  • No chocolate in the house, swap this out for 2-3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Flour – you can use whatever flour you prefer. You could add more flour for a slightly more cake like texture.