Gluten free, Healthy Treats, Snacks
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Salted Cacao Bars

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With the prospect of a 50 mile charity bike ride on the horizon I decided I’d try and make some healthy bars with natural energy to help keep my legs moving!  I often buy various gluten free, protein packed, seed, nut and fruit bars to keep me fuelled when out cycling or walking and the family tend to fill themselves with homemade flapjack and chocolate!  This time I’d like us all to have something that doesn’t contain refined sugar.  I love a sweet salty flavour so wanted to create a healthy snack that gave me that flavour hit.  These no-cook bars fit the bill perfectly and I’ll be wrapping up a good few of these to keep me pedaling through the miles!  They’re also great to have with a morning cup of coffee, post workout or to see you through the 4 o’clock energy slump!  They are so quick and easy to make and so delicious you’ll be wanting to eat the mixture before it makes it to the tin!

Finding the right dates to use can be tricky.  I’ve tried these with Deglet Nour and Medjool.  The first being a semi dried date, so not as sweet and sticky but they do have a lovely flavour and the mixture will be a little crumblier so do make sure you press it down well into the tin.  Find the stickiest dates you can to help the mixture bind together and for the best gorgeously gooey result!

75g pumpkin seeds

100g blanched almonds

40g unsweetened desicated coconut

2tbsp chia seeds

200g pitted dates, such as Medjool or other really soft sticky dates

3tbsp raw cacao powder

a generous 1/4tsp pink Himalayan salt

50g melted coconut oil

1/2tsp good quality vanilla extract

Put the pumpkin seeds and almonds in a food processor and blitz until they are chopped.

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Add the remaining ingredients and blend until the mixture forms a rough biscuit crumb texture.  If you want a smoother finished texture simply blend for longer!

Lightly grease a 7in square shallow tin with coconut oil and press the mixture into the tin with the back of a spoon. Dampen the spoon to help get a really smooth finish.

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Put the tin in the freezer for 1 hour, or the fridge for about 3 hours, to set.

Remove from the tin with a palate knife turn out onto a chopping board and cut into 12 bars.  Store in an airtight container between layers of greaseproof paper in the fridge for up to 10 days if they last that long!  Wrap in greaseproof paper to take out and about (the bars will soften if kept too warm!)  or enjoy straight from the fridge.  The Salted Cacao Bars also freeze well.

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Hints:

You can find cacao in most health food shops and some supermarkets.  Its the natural, unprocessed form of cacao and contains loads of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals so amazingly is a healthy form of chocolate…..perfect!  Cocoa is the processed refined version and through that process has lost most of its goodness.

The chia seeds add a great source of fibre.  If you’re making these for small children and they don’t like the lovely crunch of the chia seeds, simply leave them out, they are still really delicious and full of chocolatey goodness! Perfect for packed lunches or break time snacks.

I’ve used pink Himalayan salt which I love.  Its full of minerals and is completely natural.

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