Friday, September 7, 2012

Homemade Chocolate Almond Energy Bars

There are times (like breakfast) when I force myself to eat because:
  1. I need energy for the rest of the morning.
  2. I need to eat my vitamins and I can't on an empty stomach.
  3. It is the healthy thing to do.
  4. It gets my system going.
There are also other times in the day when I need an energy boost but I don't have time to eat. I might be driving my kids to an activity or in between errands. A mom's job is never done. This is when I need something that I can eat quickly but is healthy for me. I came across this recipe and I had to try it.

All the energy bar recipes I came across had dates as the "binder." I like dates but I wasn't sure how it would taste. I wondered if the taste of the dates would overpower the recipe. I was surprised to find that that wasn't the case. The dates add a sweetness that is balanced by the almonds and almond butter. 

I do recommend that when you measure the dates, you press them down in the measuring cup. This will ensure that the bars have enough "binder" to keep them from falling apart. If they do seem to be falling apart, add more dates or almond butter.

When I made this recipe, I made half a batch because I wanted to make sure that I liked the taste. I did like the taste, but I did make the mistake of not adding enough dates (didn't press them down into the measuring cup). Add enough dates and make sure that they are pitted! Just wrap these bars in parchment paper/plastic wrap and keep them in the refrigerator. Grab one when you are going to be out and about and in need of some energy.

Homemade Energy Bars
adapted from

4 cups whole, pitted dates
2 cups raw almonds
1 cup dark chocolate
2 tablespoons almond butter

1. Line a 9" x 13" pan with a piece of parchment paper.
2. Add almonds to a food processor and pulse until they are uniformly chopped.

3. Chop chocolate bar into smaller pieces.
4. Add the chocolate into the food processor and pulse again until the chocolate is finely chopped.
5. Pour mixture of almonds and chocolate into a bowl and set aside.
6. Add half the dates into the food processor until a paste forms and clumps together.

7. Add 1 tablespoon of almond butter and half of the almond/chocolate mixture into the food processor.

8. Process until combined.
9. Place mixture into prepared pan.
10. Repeat with remaining almond/chocolate mixture and almond butter.

11. When all the ingredients have been processed, use the bottom of a measuring cup to press the         mixture down into the pan. Make sure to press down firmly until the top is even and smooth.

12. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
13. Slice and serve.

14. Store in an air-tight container and place in the refrigerator.

I have one of those mini food processor attachments, so halving the mixture in the food processor worked for me. If you have a large food processor, I think that it might be okay to place the whole mixture in. You know your food processor better.

I ate mine with my green drink. Felt really healthy. The mixture of almonds, dates (for sweetness), and dark chocolate, blended well together. I also liked that this bar wasn't overly sweet. I am becoming my mother...

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