Chocolate Date and Nut Bars
Submitted by Brooke Bulloch, RD and mom.
I absolutely love the Larabar brand of bars as a convenient snack option for me (hello all my fellow mamas on the run!) or my toddler. They're made with dates and nuts as the base which makes them a good source of protein and fibre and basically a balanced snack all in one. But I wanted to experiment and see if I could re-create a basic version at home with dates, almonds, and peanuts. I was pleasantly surprised - these taste delicious and freeze well.
Dates are a good source of fibre, natural sugars (energy), and copper, potassium, and B6. Almonds and peanuts are rich in monounsaturated fats, protein, and magnesium.
4 cups whole pitted dates (cover with warm water and soak ~5 minutes)
1 cup almonds
1 cup salted peanuts (or unsalted. I enjoy a little salt in this recipe to complement the sweetness of the dates)
3/4 cup chocolate chips (dairy free for vegan option)
2 tbsp peanut butter
- Line a 9 x 13 inch pan with a sheet of parchment paper that covers the sides as well.
- With a food processor and metal blade, add the almonds and peanuts and process into a uniform, fine crumb. Then add the chocolate chips and process until well chopped.
- Pour the nut and chocolate mixture into a bowl and set aside.
- Drain the water from the dates, but keep them wet. Add half of the dates to the processor and process until a paste forms (it may clump together, and you may need to scrape the sides with a spatula part way through). To the processor, then add 1 tbsp peanut butter and half of the nut and chocolate mixture. Process until well combined and scrape into the pan.
- Repeat step 4 wiht the remaining dates, peanut butter, and nut/chocolate mixture. Add to the pan.
- Wet your hands and press and flatten the mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Add a piece of parchment on top of the mixture and smooth out the top with something flat and heavy, like a book.
- Freeze for ~30 minutes. Then pull the bar mixture out of the pan, and flip over, peelign away the parchment. Optional to sprinkle coconut on top. Cut into bars and refrigerate for 1 week or freeze.
Makes ~15 bars