Rob Bars: An Eponymous Act of Love

Oysters, chocolate, honey, figs, artichokes: All are foods with a reputation for inciting passion. But what about using food to douse the flames? A sort of Smoky Bear for one’s desires?

Such was the mission of Sylvester Graham, a 19th century minister-turned-diet grinch proponent who advocated a regimen of bland foods (meat and spices verboten) of mostly whole grains, vegetables, and fruits to inhibit carnal urges and impure thoughts.

Now follow the logic here:

Purer thoughts, he reasoned, would redirect any urge to masturbate. Since the medical dogma of the era maintained that masturbation caused blindness, mental illness, and stunted growth, Graham preached that not masturbating actually promoted good health.

Mmm hmm.

One of the fundamental components of Graham’s “anti-self-abuse” diet was a coarse cracker made from a kind of whole wheat flour. This now-ubiquitous product is the stuff of campfire delicacies, Key lime pies, and childhood snacks: the graham cracker.

1280px-Graham-Cracker-StackMy husband and I have an eponymous dietary staple in our house made of whole wheat flour, but it’s not graham crackers, and its origin is wholly unrelated to libido suppression or inspiration.

After years of another eponymous food, Clif Bar, being a staple of my husband’s snack course, he was put off by what he considered an increasingly unpalatable sweetness. An overdue check of the nutrition label validated his distaste: 20g of sugar per bar – the equivalent of 1.5 tablespoons.

With no healthier-but-flavorful energy bar alternatives on the grocery store shelves, I created my own. Starting with a recipe for something called “Super Cookies,” I tweaked, tested, and tasted countless iterations of this new product.


With final input from our friend and nutrition expert Sarah Toland, the result is an energy bar with a flavor and texture to rival the Clif Bar and a name every bit as clever: Rob Bar.


Best of all, an entire batch of 16 Rob Bars contains only 50g of added sugar: just over 3g per serving. Try them and let me know what you think:

Rob Bars

Preheat oven to 405 degrees. Prepare an 11” x 7” glass baking dish.

Beat until light and fluffy:

½ c. melted butter

½ c. applesauce

2 T. plain yogurt

3+ T. peanut butter

2 t. vanilla

¼ c. sugar

1 t. salt

2 t. cinnamon

Beat in 2 eggs.

Combine in another bowl:

1 c. oats

½ c. flaxseed meal

¾ c. whole wheat flour

¾ c. white flour

1 ½ t. baking powder

½ t. salt

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix well.

Stir in 1 c. raisins and 1 c. chopped walnuts.

Spread the dough in the baking dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes. When cooled, cut into 16 bars.

baked                     bars




6 Comments Add yours

  1. jpinneo says:

    Had NO idea about the Graham crackers! Great story! Your “Rob Bars” look amazing Elena!! I love your recipe tweaking! They sound excellent. Plus a great photo of your bars! We too have been cutting, cutting the sugar, store-bought items often being too sweet for us now. People that try my baked cookies and muffins exclaim that they are great and not so sweet. I am going to try your bar but for us gluten free folks tweak a little. I will try almond flour (adds a little more protein and is yummy for this sort of recipe) and maybe a bit of coconut flour. To tweak the sugar a little I’ll use Colorado Raw Honey (still 1/4 C most likely) or organic maple syrup. FYI: Elana’s Pantry is a great GF resource- she uses almond and coconut flour – lots of recipes on her website and she lives in Boulder to boot! Thank you Elena for the great recipe tweak and the inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. elenahershey says:

      I hereby offer you my palate for taste testing. Cookies and muffins are my specialty. 🙂


  2. Jen Rasche says:

    Yum! I’m all over this–I’m constantly struck by how over-sweet all these bars are. I’m going to use almond butter and dried cherries or maybe dates. Stand by!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. elenahershey says:

      Standing by…can’t wait to hear how they turn out!


  3. Chelsea says:

    I wonder if I can make this paleo. It will be an exciting new recipe to try, especially since I have never baked anything at 405 degrees before.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ooh – if you do create a paleo version, I hope you’ll share it!


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