Chocolate Energy Bars:
1 cup (155 grams) dried pitted dates, cut into chunks (I used Medjool Dates)
1 cup (240 ml) (240 grams) hot water
1 cup (140 grams) roasted peanuts (salted or unsalted) (can also use almonds, cashews, or hazelnuts)
1 tablespoon (5 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular unsweetened or Dutch processed)
1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup (45 grams) dark chocolate chips (optional)
3 ounces (90 grams) semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 tablespoon (5 grams) butter
Chocolate Energy Bars: Line the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan with foil and then butter the foil (or spray with a non stick cooking spray).
In a bowl place the pitted and chopped dates in the hot water and soak until the dates are nice and soft (about 5 - 10 minutes). Drain the dates and pat dry.
Meanwhile, place the peanuts and the cocoa powder in the bowl of your food processor. Process until the peanuts are finely chopped. Then add the drained dates and vanilla extract and process until the mixture starts to clump together (about 1-2 minutes). Add the chocolate chips (if using) and pulse a few times, just until incorporated. Press the mixture evenly into your loaf pan and place in the refrigerator to chill for about 15-30 minutes.
Chocolate Glaze: Chop the chocolate into small pieces. Then, in a heatproof bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Spread the melted chocolate evenly over the Energy Bars and refrigerate for about 15 minutes or just until the chocolate has set. Using a sharp knife, cut into bars. The bars can be refrigerated for a two to three weeks or they can be frozen for about two months.
Makes about 6 - 4 1/2 x 1 1/2 inch (11.5 x 4 cm) rectangular bars.
I think these Chocolate Energy Bars look so cool with their shiny chocolate glaze and how you can see the visible flecks of nuts in the chocolate colored bars. They have lots of sweet flavor and are nice and chewy. What's amazing is how they contain just three main ingredients; peanuts, dates, and chocolate. An easy no-bake recipe. They will satisfy any craving so have them for a quick "to-go" breakfast, pack one in your lunchbox, or they would be perfect to take along on your next picnic or hike. The added bonus is that they will keep for several weeks when stored in the refrigerator and they can be frozen.
I love how this Bar can be made by simply processing chopped nuts with dates. The Dates are used both as a sweetener (no sugar is needed) and to bind all the ingredients together. Dates are the fruit of the palm tree, that grow in large bunches, with each date measuring up to 2 inches (5 cm) in length. They have a high sugar content and are also a good source of protein plus Vitamins A & B. For this recipe we are using dried pitted dates and they are often sold packaged in small plastic tubs. You can usually find them in the produce section of your grocery store. My personal preference, if you can find them, is to use Medjool Dates. Dried dates often have a tough outer skin, which you can easily soften by soaking them in hot water for about 10 minutes. Then drain the dates and pat dry. I like to add a little vanilla extract (could also add a little orange or lemon zest) as I think it goes so well with the flavor of the dates.
While not necessary, the Bars taste and look really good with a thin chocolate glaze. Try to use a good quality chocolate. One that you enjoy eating on its own. Because they have a chocolate glaze, I do like to store them in the refrigerator, otherwise the chocolate will bloom (have white streaks) when stored at room temperature. If you eat them cold from the fridge they will be dense and chewy. But if you let them come to room temperature they become soft and chewy.