If you know me personally, it’s no secret that I LOVE chocolate. Thankfully, dark chocolate is a treat that I can feel good about eating because it contains healthy antioxidants. If you have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, eating dark chocolate (in moderation of course!) might actually help lower your blood cholesterol levels. When purchasing chocolate, try to look for organic chocolate that has a minimum of 70 percent cocoa content.
Another way to use chocolate is to add cocoa powder (also known as cacao powder) to sweet or savory recipes. Good quality cacao powder can be found in larger grocery or natural food stores. I found mine next to the protein powders in Whole Foods.
This recipe incorporates cocoa powder, cherries and dates to form a yummy raw bar that is reminiscent of Larabars. I added the quick cooking oats because I like the texture that they give to the bar. This is a great mid-morning or late afternoon snack that can help curb that sweet tooth and give you the healthy protein and fats that your body needs.
These will keep well in the refrigerator for up to five days. You can also freeze them and just defrost in the fridge overnight (or even eat frozen like I have done before!)
Makes 8 Bars
1 C Medjool Dates, pitted and roughly chopped
1 C Dried unsweetened bing cherries
1/3 C Quick cooking oats
1/2 C Raw almonds
1 TBS Coconut oil, melted
1 TBS Cocoa powder
1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
Place dates and cherries into a food processor and blend until they are finely chopped (the mixture will come together to form a ball). Remove to a bowl.
Place oats and almonds into the processor (no need to clean it out first!) and process until finely chopped. Add the cherry and date mixture back in. Add the coconut oil, cocoa powder and cinnamon and process until combined.
Line a brownie pan with wax or parchment paper and press the mixture firmly and evenly into the bottom. Chill for 20 minutes and then cut into 8 bars.