My cousin Jose is pretty awesome to his own account: He’s always been a brainiac, he launched his own succesful company, has a lovely wife that I genuinely like, and competes in marathons and triathlons. Also, he has self-dubbed himself as “my favorite cousin”, so to all my other cousins, this is a call to step up your game if you want a chance at winning the coveted title of my favoritest. And I know you do. Sending me copious amounts of gifts is a good place to start.
Anyway, when Jose asked me about a good recipe for energy bars it was as if he’d read my mind because I had already been tinkering away in my kitchen trying to find the perfect combination for a bar recipe. Have you ever read the ingredients in the average granola bars? Shit, baloney, crap and hogwash. That’s what they’re made of.
So of course a homemade version was in order, something that could provide sustainable slow-release energy in between meals, that won’t make me crash, that provides zing for before workouts and protein for after, and that won’t make me cringe when feeding it to my 10 year-old daughter.
One thing I knew for sure: It had to have chocolate. I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate? (Don’t tell me if you don’t. I’ll totally judge you.)
But how dare I call is sugarless if it has chocolate? These bars do indeed taste like chocolatey heaven, but they rely on pure cocoa for that, and on dates for the sweetness factor. I wish I could take credit for the use of dates but I didn’t invent the wheel, dates are used in all sorts of recipes as a natural sweetener. Because they work like a fucking charm.
Big extra points because you can chuck in any seeds or nuts you have in hand, making this super adaptable and easy to make.
And so I present you with a bar of such beauty that it makes angels cry and unicorns puke rainbows:
Sugarless Chocolate Energy Bar (Makes 6)
1 C dried dates
1 C almonds (alternatively: sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, a combination of all… your call)
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbs cocoa powder
1/4 C pure chocolate (I used Lindt 90% cocoa bar. You can go a lower grade so it’s sweeter, or you can combine with a bit of semi-sweet chocolate chips, though these do contain sugar.)
a dash of salt
Take your dry dates, place them in a glass bowl and soak them in boiling water for about 20 minutes. I left mine soaking for about 2 hours
because I forgot about them, and they were a bit too mushy. Place all your other ingredients (almonds, cocoa, vanilla, chocolate and salt) in your blender and blend. After the soaking time is up, drain the dates and add them to the mixture in the blender. Process for about a minute, empty mixture into a loaf pan and even out the surface. Chill it in the fridge to allow the ingredients to settle, then cut into bars.
These bars are easy to carry, work great as snacks or quick pick-me-upper, they don’t require baking or cooking, and can be frozen for later use. And they have chocolate. Anything I missed?
Also, the lesson to learn is ask and you shall receive. If you have any ideas or requests of recipes or ingredients you’d like to see here all you have to do is let me know. If you’re too difficult I’ll just ignore you. Unless you send me gifts.