FAUZIA’S EVERYTHING’S GOOD BARS (vegan, paleo)

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I love these bars for so many reasons.  They are healthy and delicious, and full of fiber, protein, healthy fats, minerals, and dark CHOCOLATE!  I call them Everything’s Good Bars because everything in them is good for you, and they serve as a little reminder that life is good.  These guilt-free gems take less than 10 minutes to whip up, and make a perfect breakfast on the go, or a nutritious snack for anytime of the day.  Feel free to switch up the ingredients to suit your personal taste.  Walnuts, ground flax seeds, dried cranberries, unsalted pistachios, and sunflower seeds would be great additions.

INGREDIENTS

10 large Medjool dates, pitted

1/2 cup raw pecans

1/3 cup almond flour, or 1/3 cup raw almonds

1/3 cup raw pumpkin seeds

2 tbsp chia seeds

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tbsp unrefined coconut oil

2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/3 cup 63% or higher dark chocolate chips (add these at the very end)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Line an standard loaf pan with parchment or waxed paper, leaving an excess on at least 2 sides so that you can lift the set bars out of the dish before slicing.

2. Place all ingredients except for the chocolate chips in a standard size food processor (mini food processors aren’t big enough for this recipe, and a blender doesn’t quite do the job).

3. Turn on and process for about 3 minutes, until it starts to come together to form a dough.  If you are using whole nuts like almonds or pistachios, I recommend running those through the food processor alone to chop them up before adding the rest of the ingredients. 

4. Add in the dark chocolate chips, and pulse 3 times to incorporate, but don’t over mix.

5. Turn the mixture out into the lined dish, and press the dough down gently with your fingers until it is mostly uniform and even.

6. Gently press a clean paper towel on the top of the dough to absorb the excess coconut oil that has collected on the top of the pressed mixture.

7. Place in the freezer for an 30 minutes to an hour for a quick set, or in the fridge for 2 or more hours. 

8. Remove the entire bar slab by pulling up the sides of the parchment or waxed paper.  Place on a cutting board and use a large knife to cut into bars or squares, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, although I doubt they will last that long!  They are best served cold, especially in a warm climate.  Keep them close to a cold pack while you’re out and about, and you’ll be set.

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