Raw Fruit & Nut Bars
I am a chocolate lover. I can not get enough once I start eating it and I have always been this way. Funny thing is, it's not the sweetness that I love it's the cocoa itself. Once I started to play around with cocoa on its own I discovered new ways to enjoy my favorite treat without feeling guilty after indulging in it. This recipe will help you do the same. This treat is actually full of nutrients that will not only leave you feeling guilt free but also feeling positive about the goodness you just gifted your body.
I very rarely eat refined sugar because I simply don't see the need to. There are so many naturally sweet ingredients we can use that benefit our bodies as opposed to the opposite. In this recipe I use dates, pure maple syrup and coconut to sweeten the cocoa in these bars and it does not disappoint. Did you know there are many nutritional benefits to pure maple syrup, and here in Canada we are known to have some of the highest quality syrup in the world? If you were unaware, you know now. It is high in antioxidants and contains magnesium, zinc, calcium, riboflavin and potassium. Researchers say maple syrup also contains anti inflammatory properties, and for those of us with inflammatory disease, this is a serious yay. HEELLLOOO health benefits! Made right here at home in Canada.
Oh right, we were chatting about those sweet little dates too! They are also a source of antioxidants, iron (bonus ladies!) and have a low glycemic impact. I'm pretty sure that refined sugar isn't able to offer you the same love.
Now how about those beautiful cashews and walnuts?? My love for walnuts is forever and slightly out of control. I add them to everything because they are so so good for us. They actually help to lower cholesterol and are full of good healthy fats to keep our brains working their best. I don't know about you, but as a mom with twin toddlers running around, my brain could use all the help it can get. Ever hear of "mom brain"? That is so real. Be kind to your mommy friends.
So, there is a very thin layer of semi sweet chocolate on top of these bars to stick the dried fruit and nuts to the top, this is optional. If you want to completely skip the refined sugar there is no need to pat into the casserole dish, simply roll into even sized balls and place in the fridge until firm and eat as protein balls. If you want to truly indulge in the chocolaty goodness go for it! This is my new found favorite treat and we have eaten them both ways and loved every bite, chocolaty or not.
But I mean, that looks so good. Just put the chocolate on there and have a hoot. Do people still say YOLO? Well, I am right now, sorry to my kids if that is embarrassing.
- 1/3 cup dark cocoa
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 7 dates, pitted
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate for melting
- assorted dried fruit and nuts, chopped for topping
- In a food processor, grind walnuts and cashews. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
- Using the food processor again, add cocoa, dates, salt, maple syrup, coconut oil, and shredded coconut. Mix until it forms a dense dough. Add ground nuts and pulse until combined.
- At this point you can choose to use the dough as it is by rolling into small protein balls and placing in fridge to cool. Or you can continue to step 4 to make the Fruit & Nut Bars.
- Place dough in a 9-12" baking dish and press, with washed hands, into an even dough filling the bottom on the dish. Place in fridge to cool while you melt the chocolate and chop nuts and dried fruit.
- Pour melted chocolate over the cooled base and spread evenly. Sprinkle with chopped nuts and fruit then return to fridge until fully cooled. Cut into squares and enjoy!
For more inspiration be sure to check out my Instagram page grace.and.jack !