If there’s one thing to make this week, it’s these dark chocolate superfood bars.
Every weekend I like to make a snack recipe so I have something to quickly grab and eat during the week. I’ll usually make a big batch of hummus or peanut butter oat balls, something that packs in lots of protein. I find that snacks with protein and healthy fats actually keep you nutritionally satisfied and energized until the next meal, instead of something that just satisfies a temporary craving. A couple weekends ago I decided to make some “granola” bars. I was completely out of oats, so the bars didn’t turn out completely traditional, but better than any bar I have ever had. Everyone was blown away with how good these were, so I absolutely had to create a recipe and share them.
Let’s first talk about how healthy these are. I had tons of nuts on hand so used them as the base. Cashews and almonds…both full of healthy fats and lots of protein. Hemp seeds have an earthy quality and are said to have more health benefits than chia or flax seeds. Look for them raw and shelled, like these hemp seeds from Thrive Market. I’ve also seen them in every Whole Foods Market I’ve been in, so you shouldn’t have a hard time finding them. They’re a bit pricey, but will last for a long time in the refrigerator and can be added to anything (salads, oatmeal, smoothies, etc.). I also added some coconut flakes to the base for crunch, flavor, and because they’re full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Once all of those goodies get pulsed up into a crumbly mixture, I turn to the stove. Pure maple syrup and coconut oil heated together create a sweet, syrupy liquid that is used to hold the bars together, both having their own set of nutritional benefits. I also add a little almond extract to the mixture because it makes these superfood bars taste so, so good.
I always associate almond extract with these amazing cream cheese chocolate brownies my mom makes for Christmas because she basically triples the amount of almond extract for them. Having that same flavor in these bars make them seem even more like an indulgent treat even though they contain no refined sugar, no refined flour, and lots of nutrients.
The best part about making these superfood bars is when you mix in the hot coconut oil mixture with the nuts and seeds. Let me tell you…the smell is so good that you’ll want to just eat that mixture by the spoonful, which is totally acceptable. But to turn them into bars, all you need to do is pack the mixture into an oiled baking dish, bake them until golden brown, let them cool, top them with a little chocolate of course, and cut. Easy as that.
For the topping, I use a generous drizzle of melted dark chocolate. I buy chocolate with a very high cacao content (70-85%) to get the most benefits out of it, which include everything from antioxidants to fiber to improved brain function. Before the chocolate hardens onto the bars, I sprinkle dried rose petals and bee pollen over the top. Bee pollen helps your skin, digestive system, and gives you lots of energy.
With all those superfoods, you would never believe that these are the most addicting, delicious snacks I’ve ever had, but they are! Even people in my family who would usually turn away from any type of “treat” that wasn’t actually indulgent can’t get enough of these. Enjoy!
- 12 oz roasted unsalted cashews
- 6 oz roasted unsalted almonds
- 1 oz coconut flakes
- ½ oz hemp seeds
- ¼ cup pure maple syrup
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- 4 oz dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp dried edible rose petals
- 2 tsp bee pollen
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Add the cashews, almonds, coconut flakes, and hemp seeds to a food processor. Pulse until you’re left with a course, crumbly mixture, making sure there are no big pieces left. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and set aside. In a small saucepan, combine the maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt. Heat until the coconut oil melts and the mixture comes to bubble. Turn off the heat and stir in the almond extract. Pour the liquid into the mixing bowl. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to mix until the all the nuts and seeds have absorbed the liquid and begin to clump together. Make sure the mixture feels evenly distributed. Lightly oil a 9"x13" baking dish, making sure the side are oiled as well. Press the mixture into the baking dish and use your hands to create a flat, even layer. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.
- Once the bars have cooled, melt the chocolate in the microwave (using intervals) or in a double boiler. Use a spoon to drizzle the chocolate over the bars while they’re still in the baking dish. Sprinkle with rose petals and bee pollen. Refrigerate the dish until the chocolate sets up. Use a paring knife to cut the bars into pieces (you can do squares, thinner rectangles, or just pretty much any shape that you’d like).
- Eat the bars straight out of the dish, transfer them to a plate, or wrap them individually for easy access during the week.
- You can switch up the toppings by using more nuts, coconut flakes, melted almond butter, etc. if you don’t have dried rose petals or bee pollen.