Thursday, September 26, 2013

No-Bake Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Energy Bars

No-Bake Chocolate, Cherry and Almond Energy Bars
Loaded with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, these bars make for a delicious and satisfying on-the-go treat. If you don’t think your food processor can handle the dates, you can soak them in water for an hour beforehand to soften them up.
  • 1½ cups pitted, dried dates
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup whole chia seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • optional: sprinkle of sea salt
  1. Purée dates in food processor until a thick paste forms. Add cocoa powder, chia seeds, cinnamon, and vanilla and almond extracts. Pulse until all ingredients are combined. Add the almonds and pecans; pulse until nuts are well incorporated into date mixture. Stir in dried cherries.
  2. Spread large sheet of wax paper on work surface. Transfer date mixture to wax paper, and press mixture into 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. If desired, you can even out the edges by trimming them with a knife. Wrap tightly in wax paper, and chill overnight.
  3. Unwrap block, and cut into 8 bars. Sprinkle with a bit of sea salt (if using). Re-wrap each bar in wax paper and refrigerate leftovers in an air-tight container.
  4. Two more variation ideas from Kristina:
  5. Blueberry, Pistachio and Crystallized Ginger Bars: same as above but omit cinnamon; sub chopped pistachios for almonds and pecans; sub dried blueberries for dried cherries; stir in 1/8 cup chopped crystallized ginger after mixture is blended
  6. Cranberry-Orange Walnut Bars: same as above but omit cinnamon and almond extract; sub chopped walnuts for almonds and pecans; add 1/2 teaspoon orange zest; sub dried cranberries for dried cherries

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