We've Gone Nuts In The Kitchen

As promised, here's a quick version of the recipe for the energy bars that you may have seen on my Instagram. I tweaked it from my almond bark recipe from last year. I make several versions of these bittersweet energy bars, sometimes with cashews and other times with different dried fruits, etc. These bars are less sweet but have enough alternative sweetness to satisfy those guests with a sweet tooth, especially if you are trying to eat more raw dark chocolate, which has amazing health benefits. 

I could never eat regular desserts or milk chocolates growing up because like most candies it was laced with too much sweetness for me (albeit normal for everyone else) due to a rare cane sugar allergy. As I got older I started to use raw cacao/dark chocolate in my baking. All is somewhat better, therefore I can make unique treats for loved ones in my life ... but with a few minor adjustments.

I decided to make an easy snack, it's what I call "wake-up bars." They can be enjoyed anytime of the day and have a nice creamy and nutty crunch for those afternoon cravings. Also, the use of agave allows the cacao to have a unique texture that pairs well with the addition of various nuts.

Did you know that cacao is a great source of iron, magnesium and has forty times more antioxidants than blueberries? I eat blueberries frequently and could hardly believe the amount of antioxidants raw cacao powder has when I first started using it. 

Coconut oil also worked well for this recipe because it blends easily but also tastes good. Most people think that coconut oil is a new ingredient but it's been used for ages. I keep coconut oil in my home, as my mum used to use coconut a lot in home remedies and cooking. 

From skincare to internal health benefits, there is a multitude of ways to use coconut oil: a few benefits to note include helping to clear up UTIs, aids with inflammation reduction, and has been used for centuries for oil pulling, which helps to cleanse the mouth preventing bacteria and heal periodontal disease.

It also has a high percentage of naturally saturated fats, and those fats in coconut oil increase healthy cholesterol also called MCFA (the medium-chain fatty acids which) provide energy. Medical studies have shown that MCFAs are easily digested, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and instantly transforms into energy instead of being stored as fats.

With that being said, have you used coconut in your regular diet?



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Note: Be sure to use organic raw cacao (pronounced "cu-COW") in this recipe. Cacao is referred to the Theobroma Cacao tree, it's what cocoa stems from and this is what unprocessed versions of the cacao bean is generally called. Dutch-process cocoa powder (also called alkalized) is when the cocoa beans have been washed in alkaline with potassium carbonate, this process neutralises the acidity making it less bitter than raw cacao powder. When selecting which powders to use, it really depends on what you are using it for, as both types are used in addition to natural cocoa powder. Raw cacao is more acidic, it's pure powder from the cacao bean and with less processing involved.

Watch out for faux branded versions, as some commercially processed powders have been chemically processed or treated with toxic pesticides—ruining a huge amount of the amazing flavanols (Phytonutrient compounds = the good elements, A.K.A. the plant-based nutrients that is also found in green tea, red wine, and cherries), and antioxidants that are naturally in cacao.  
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Yield: Serves 8-12, makes 6 large bars to cut in half.
Ingredients:
150g (3/4 cup) unrefined/ extra-virgin coconut oil, plus 1 tablespoon, separated, and at room temperature
120g (3/4) cup 100% raw organic cacao powder
150g (½ cup), plus 1 tablespoon Agave nectar
120g (½ cup) of organic crunchy peanut butter (no sugar added)
70g (½ cup) raw almonds
4 tablespoons pecan halves
¼ teaspoon pure almond extract
1 ½ tablespoon of your favourite protein powder (I used pea protein or maca root) - Optional

Method:
  1. Place a silicone mould on a small baking tray. Set aside. 
  2. In a food processor or grinder, add raw almonds and 2 tablespoons of pecan halves. Pulse until chopped (having a large breadcrumb consistency). Set aside.  
  3. Mix the raw cacao powder, almond extract, protein powder, Agave, and the 150g coconut oil in a small bowl until blended smooth, with a textured paste consistency. Tip: (If you need to heat the coconut oil, do so only for about 10-15 seconds or less in the microwave). 
  4. Next, pour the dark chocolate mixture into the prepared mould, using a spatula to smooth it out evenly in each cavity. Then, sprinkle the chopped almonds on top of the dark chocolate mixture. 
  5. In a microwave, melt the peanut butter until easily stirred, then take out and add the 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and blend well with a spoon. 
  6. Pour the peanut butter mixture right on top of the almond dark chocolate mixture in each mould cavity. Next, use a knife or spatula to swirl the peanut butter mixture into the chocolate mixture. Add the other two tablespoons pecan halves atop each cavity. 
  7. Place the entire mould in the freezer for 50 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until dark chocolate is solid before breaking into chunks. Serve immediately as a snack or store in the freezer or refrigerator. 
*Extras: If you're wondering what the white drizzle is on top of these bars, I added melted cacao butter on top of my bars to act as white chocolate but it's optional. 
 

Do you use raw cacao powder in cooking or baking?


P.S. I will be slowly making my way to all of your blogs soon. Apologies, as I've been away due to an important business convention and had to step back from social channels and the blog. I have also been working on a few fun projects to share with you soon.  
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8 comments

  1. Wow that looks so delicious I need to try this recipe

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  2. Nomnomnom....these bars look so good, Madison! Thanks for sharing the recipe. These would make great snacks for the kiddos:)
    Hope ur having an awesome day!

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    Replies
    1. Aw, thanks Em! Yes, I'm sure the kiddos will love these & super healthy!

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  3. Slurp! These bars look so delicious!
    Kiss.

    http://www.dontcallmefashionblogger.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'M gonna try this recipe for my sneak break at work! Baci, Valeria - Coco et La vie en rose FASHION & BEAUTY

    ReplyDelete

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