Whether you call them brownies or energy bars, you will definitely call these dark chocolate treats pure bliss!
We go through a lot of power bars/granola bars/ energy bars in this house, and I’m at the point where I no longer want to buy another, especially when homemade ones are profoundly more delicious, nutritious, and cost-effective.
Granola bars and energy bars are a breeze: an amalgamation of whole grain cereals, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and some “glue” (nut butter, natural syrup such as honey or maple syrup, etc.), a quick press into a cake pan, and you’ve got tasty bars. Even the flops that don’t stick together make delicious trail mix.
But what about a dark chocolate brownie bar? I had several requirements: (1) must taste like chocolate, not chalk-let; (2) must be all-natural; (3) must have no refined sugar (I am hyper enough as it is); (4) must have a significant amount of protein (i.e., more than the 3 to 5 grams in most homemade bars).
Better still, the bars require no baking, can be enjoyed by meat-eaters, vegans, and raw foodists alike, and, the most important requirement for anything and everything I make and share here at power hungry, they are undeniably delicious. They are a lot like lara bars, but in super-chocolate form.
A few notes before you give these a try. If you’re new to the world of raw food, the step for soaking the almonds may sound odd and/or unnecessary. But it has a specific function: soaking nuts makes them easier to digest and allows for greater absorption of the nutrients within. Click here to read more. From a cook’s perspective (that would be me :)), soaking the nuts makes these bars more “brownie-like”–much like the consistency of raw chocolate cookie dough.
These carry the toddler (Nick), weight-lifting husband (Kevin), and pilates/yoga/running/aerobics-instructor/chef (moi) seal of approval. Enjoy!
- 2 cups raw almonds (skins on)
- 1 pound pitted soft dates
- ¾ cup raw cacao powder OR regular unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Place almonds in a medium bowl. Fill bowl with cold water (preferably filtered, but tap is fine) to cover the almonds. Let the almonds soak for 3 to 4 hours. Drain the almonds and pat dry with a clean dish cloth.
- Pulse almonds in food processor until finely ground. Add the dates and pulse until finely chopped and the mixture begins to resemble a thick "dough". Add the cocoa powder. Process until blended. Add a few drops of water, as needed, if mixture appears dry.
- Line an 8×8-inch baking dish with foil (trust me, it makes it so much easier to remove the bars). With wet hands, press the bar mixture into the pan. Place in the freezer for at least an hour. Cut into 12 bars. Wrap each in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator (they need no refrigeration when packed in a lunch or gym bag).