Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Raw Cocoa Date Bars

Our tree is off our roof!  Hooray!  Did you know I had to provincially outsource an arborist to get this to happen in a timely matter?  Tree professionals in Calgary are in high demand after our lovely Snow-tember. 

I am lucky enough to work within walking distance of the community library where I work, and generally I go home each day to walk the dog, and scarf down some food.  Yesterday, as I neared my home I could hear the sound of a chainsaw, and then as I rounded the corner, I could see heavy work was in full swing.
These lovely boys are here from my home town of Nelson, B.C., to save us all from our broken tree woes.  I've been anxiously waiting for this day, as our beautiful Mayday, which is the highlight of our backyard, was in dire straights.  This tree has two branches that fork off the main trunk, and the weight of the snow had cracked it down the centre.  Every time the winds picked up or we got another threat of snow I feared a branch might split clear off, and take the roof with it.  When I called the arborist, he thought I was being dramatic "Mayday in our backyard". Ha!

Send me home town boys and I want to make them feel a Koots style thank-you...that calls for some raw cocoa date bars!  I actually had these bars on the ready, as I fell off the no sugar wagon last weekend, and needed to wean myself off sweets again.  Ugh!  Why do I do it to myself?!
These wholesome bars fill my sugar fix, though.  Naturally sweetened from both the dates and raisins, chewy, and nutty, with a hint of cocoa.  Cut these bars up small, they still pack a high caloric hit, with plenty of healthy fats from the seeds -  a little goes a long way!

Raw Cocoa Date Bars

11/2 cup dates, pitted
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup sesame seeds (plus 2 Tablespoons more for topping)
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon coconut oil, melted

Line a small baking dish (I used a loaf pan for extra thick bars) with parchment paper and set aside.  Add the sunflower and sesame seeds to a food processor, and process until broken down to a breadcrumb-like consistency.  Add the coconut, and cocoa powder, and pulse to combine.  Next add the dates, raisins, and coconut oil, blending on high until fully combined.  The mixture should stick together when pressed between your fingers, add a small amount of water if you find it is too dry or not sticking.
Add the mixture to your prepared dish, pressing as evenly as possible (wet your fingers with water to avoid sticking), sprinkle with the reserved sesame seeds, and place in the fridge for at least two hours to firm up.
Cut into small squares or bars to serve, and store in an air tight container in the fridge.


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