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Chocolate-Date Energy Bars

Cheryl Rule – Chocolate Date Energy Bars_485x278

Many energy bars come with a long list of ingredients and high dose of sugar. Skip the uncertainty and make your own. Naturally sweetened by dates and loaded with almonds for extended energy, these bars are sure to satisfy when hunger strikes.

Inspired by Shutterbean and Foodie with Family.

Makes 16-20.

• 2 cups date paste (about 20 ounces — substitute pitted dates if desired)*
• 2 cups whole almonds
• 1/4 cup cocoa powder
• 5 tablespoons seeds (toasted sesame seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, or a combination)
• Pinch salt

Line a 9″ square baking pan with enough wax paper so it hangs over the left and right edges.

Topple all ingredients into a sturdy, full-size food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse about 10 times in one-second bursts. Then turn the processor on and let it whirl for a few minutes, stopping the machine now and again and scraping down the sides. Eventually, the mixture will come together in one big clump.

Transfer the mass to the square pan and, using wet fingers, press it into an even layer. Use the excess wax paper to gently cover the bars, then refrigerate for several hours, or overnight, until firm enough to cut. Invert onto a cutting board, peel off the paper, and cut into bars. Freeze individually as directed above.

*If substituting pitted dates, aim for moist ones, and use your judgment about whether to add a bit of liquid (hot water, nut butter) to bind the ingredients. You can make your own date paste by soaking pitted dates in boiling water just to cover, letting them stand 10 minutes, then draining and reserving the soaking water. Purée, adding the soaking water back in as necessary, teaspoon by teaspoon, until smooth.