Diabetic-Friendly Power Bars

Having discovered the book Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook by Camilla V. Saulsbury,  I am experimenting with diabetic-friendly (good taste, low carb) treats. The book is not for diabetics, but with very little trouble, many of the recipes can be converted to tasty treats that don’t spike your blood sugar and taste great.

The first thing I learned was that what the author calls “pucks” are baked in a muffin tin for a reason–they are moist and fall apart easily. I stubbornly baked them in brownie pans and lived to regret that choice. I now bake all my power bars in lined muffin tins for practical reasons:

  • You can vary the cooking time to make sure they come out to your liking–soft or chewy.
  • They unmold really easily from the muffin tin and no wash-up! (Big plus for me.)
  • They become portable if you leave them in the liner paper. I don’t fill up the muffin cups, so the paper can be folded over them successfully.
  • No clean up–very important

If you are going to make a lot of your own power bars, buy a silicon muffin tin, both in large and small sizes. They are easy to clean, you don’t need to spray them, and they work every time. Since we had regular muffin tins, I bought paper inserts to use.

My two success stories. Both are altered somewhat from the book. I also used Viva Lab products in the recipes: chia seeds, flax seed powder, cocoa powder and coconut sugar. For diabetics, the low-glycemic index coconut sugar may be the best discovery ever. I’m careful with sugar, but this is the real taste, real baking power low-glycemic ingredient that I’m crazy about.

Chewy Cherry Rounds

  • 2/3 cup ground flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup natural, unsweetened almond butter
  • 1/3 cup milk (you can use soy or almond milk)
  • 1/3 cup Viva coconut sugar (you can use coconut nectar)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla flavoring (you can use almond extract0
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries. (I used sour cherries, bulk)

cherrysnackPreheat oven to 325ºF  (160ºC)
Line the muffin tin with paper liners.

Soak the cherries in warm water to cover for three minutes. Discard the water. Press the cherries gently till all water is gone. I know they process them with sugar, so I needed to rinse it off. (If you are not diabetic, skip this step)

Thoroughly mix all ingredients except the cherries. Add them and stir just to incorporate.

Divide the mixture into the 12 muffin tins. It will not fill up the tins, just the bottom 1/4 will be covered.

Bake in preheated oven 25 to 30 minutes. Do NOT overbake. Take out of oven, let cool and turn out the rounds in their paper. Fold over the paper and store in zipper plastic bag in fridge.

Per round: 161 calories, 16.2g carbs, 4.3 g fiber


  1. Add a Tablespoon of Viva organic cacao powder for a richer taste.
  2. Substitute dried, chopped apricots for cherries. If you use unsulfered apricots, soak them to plump them up, but drain and squeeze.

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Whole Grain Apricot Bars

  • 1 cup health-food store cooking cereal that combines spelt,

    I didn’t use muffin tins for this one. I should have.

    amaranth, quinoa flakes, or rolled oats. (In any combination). It should all look like rolled oats, not like corn flakes.

  • 1 cup pecan pieces (can use shelled hemp seeds, sunflower seeds or walnuts)
  • 1 bar ( 1.65 oz) Trader Joe’s dark (72 percent) chocolate, cut into bits
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (unsweetened) use a no-stir brand for consistent results
  • 1/3 cup Viva coconut sugar (or coconut nectar)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
  • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 325ºF  (160ºC)
Line the muffin tin with paper liners.
Rinse and squeeze out the apricots.

Chop the pecan pieces, chocolate and apricots into very fine, small pieces. Combine with the rest of the ingredients, stirring until it is all combined completely. You can use a blender, but do not turn it into paste or your taste buds will regret it.

Spoon the mixture evenly into muffin cups. They will be about 1/3 full. Cook for 20 minutes, checking in at 18 so you don’t overcook. Look for the edges to separate from the paper.

Take out of the oven, let cool, and store in the paper cups.


  • Substitute dried sour cherries for the apricots
  • Use cashew or sunflower nut butter
  • Add 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds

Per bar: 180 calories, 20.8 carbs, 2.4 fiber. For me, that means eating them after a meal of salad and fish. Worth it!

–Quinn McDonald is an experimenter. Diabetic foods are her specialty.