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Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chocolate Superfood Energy Bars



Just a quick disclaimer before reading this post - I have not gone all crunchy granola on you. Just bought a fun new cookbook called "Superfood Kitchen" by Julie Morris, and I have been trying out some of the recipes which use ingredients found in natural food stores and that aisle in Whole Foods that I'm usually too intimidated to walk down.

These energy bars are ridiculously easy to make and taste rich and delicious. Nick grabbed one right before heading to an intense boot camp and said they kept him energized throughout the workout.  You can play around with the recipe, adding in your favorite blend of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit. I loved the chocolate-blueberry combo paired with the crunchy pumpkin seeds. 

The bars get their chocolate flavor from cacao powder (the cacao beans are milled at low temperatures to protect the nutrients and flavor) which is an excellent source of antioxidants, magnesium and iron. I paid about $20 for a 16-ounce bag.

While my food processor definitely struggled to process the dates and nuts, the dough came together nicely. I recommend freezing the dough for about a half an hour before you are ready to cut it into bars.  Bring this healthy snack to the office to ward off those 3:00 trips to the vending machine!



Chocolate Superfood Energy Bars
Makes 6 bars
Adapted from Superfood Kitchen

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup soft Medjool dates (about 12), pits removed
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup cacao powder (you could also regular cocoa powder)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried blueberries
Preparation:

Grind all ingredients together in a food processor except for the last 2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds and the dried blueberries, until a coarse dough has formed (could take a few minutes). Stop the machine and check the consistency to make sure it sticks together easily. If the dough is too dry, you can add about a half teaspoon of water and blend again.

Add the pumpkin seeds and blueberries and pulse several times until just coarsely chopped to give the bars a nice texture.

Place a large sheet of plastic wrap on a flat surface and spill out the dough on top. Gather into a solid mass in the center; then use the sides of the plastic to wrap over the dough as tightly as possible, pressing and shaping into a compact 1-inch rectangle.

When solid, remove the wrap and cut into 6 bars (for extra clean cuts, you can place the bar in the freezer for 30 minutes before cutting). Wrap and keep in the fridge (will last about a week). You can freeze them as well.