I made these bars this week because I wanted to create a filling and healthy snack to have at work, that still had the indulgence of a sweeter treat. I am by no means a ‘food nazi’ and if I feel like having a sweet treat full of sugar, believe me, I will! The problem is that if I get an attack of the sweet munchies, and there is no alternative to a sugar laden biscuit, I usually have one, then another, and then eat five in about 30 seconds, and then feel bad afterwards! Not bad psychologically for eating it, but physically bad. I think because I do eat so healthily most of the time, my digestion doesn’t know what’s going on when I suddenly throw a load of processed sugary crap in to it. But things have been pretty stressful and upsetting in work lately, and a tried and tested remedy to get through those times is some chocolatey comfort food at break times with a nice cup of green tea. However sometimes the goodies offered by work mates has made me end up feeling sort of sick -though I am aware that this probably has a lot to do with my greediness also! Either way, once again, raw chocolate comes to the rescue to provide a healthy, but intensely chocolatey and satisfying treat!
Hazelnut and chocolate are a match made in heaven. These bars taste like they’re made with Nutella -but healthy Nutella. Nutella is essentially hazelnuts, cocoa solids and skimmed milk powder, plus a pile of nasty things like sugar, modified palm oil and additives. In the US the makers were famously sued recently over their claims that the spread is a healthy, nutritious breakfast for kids. It ended in them having to pay three million dollars and being forced to change their labelling and advertisements which were misleading consumers. It is so easy to whip up a healthier, and tastier, version. The way I do it is simply blend hazelnut butter, raw cacao powder, date syrup and vanilla together.
These bars are very filling due to the oats. It is best to use high quality jumbo whole oats for these. The hemp seeds and chia seeds provide a lot of high quality protein, as well as omega 6 and omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and a range of minerals such as zinc, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, and iron. These bars are almost raw as well, and you can easily adapt them to be fully raw. I used hazelnut butter made with roasted hazelnuts, but you could substitute raw butter instead. There is a very slight coconutty hint in the taste due to the coconut oil, but if you are one of those (crazy) people who don’t like coconut, you could use raw cacao butter instead. This would provide a meeeeega chocolatey hit! I would highly approve of this, despite your crazy coconut aversions! These are quite crunchy and chewy which I like, rather than being softer type of chewy like a flapjack. Perhaps the best thing about them though, is that you can make them in almost the same time it takes to eat five biscuits… very fast!!!
Things are good with me apart from the stress of work, which is part of the job and can flare up from time to time. I am staying sane by doing lots of self care -I talked about the importance of this in my profession in this post. For me this means fitting in lots of yoga, meditation, self reiki, and getting out in nature as much as possible. I am super excited that the clocks will be changing here in Ireland in about a month, giving us an extra hour of daylight. But even as it is now, it is bright until just after 6pm, giving me an hour to soak up some (cold) daylight after work to rebalance myself. The wild flowers are also beginning to bloom here and I love spotting new ones every day. Seeing nature triumph in urban places is my favourite -take that humans! I have been a lot more active on instagram/ facebook/ twitter lately so if you’d like to keep up with my daily wild flower finds, mindfulness techniques, yummy food or pretty scenery that I spot, be sure to follow me on one, or all of the above. I’d love to hear from you! But now on to the recipe..
- 170g hazelnut butter
- 8 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 6 tbsp date syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup oats
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/8 cup chia seed
- 1/8 hemp seed
- 1/8 cup raw cacao nibs
Make up the hazelnut chocolate spread by combining the hazelnut butter, raw cacao powder, date syrup and vanilla essence in a large bowl. Then stir in the the rest of the ingredients until combined well. Press the mixture out on to a lined baking tray until you reach the desired thickness. I make mine about half an inch thick. You can press some extra seeds and cacao nibs on top if you like. Place the tray in the fridge for about 20 minutes to allow them to set a little bit,and then slice and serve.