These are the best breakfast treat/ energy bar/ snack your kids will actually eat / straight up chocolate dessert EVER! You don’t officially bake them, however you do need to toast the oats and nuts, so there’s an oven involved, but they are conspicuously missing flour and sugar, which is something you’ll notice happens almost never times in my posts, and probably don’t get used to it. But seriously, I love these too much not to share. After I cut them into the above squares I cut many of those in half so I can have some smaller portions for when a little afternoon pick-me-up is needed, because an entire square is quite filling. I especially love sharing these with Mom’s of new babies because I haven’t met a better nursing snack. And who doesn’t love a treat of the chocolate variety that is still giving you fruity fiber from dates, whole grain oats, plus the satisfying protein of nuts? I invite you to get creative with this recipe, my guess is they would taste great replacing pecans with cashews or even pistachios.
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 (heaping) cup pecans
1 cup slivered almonds (I usually use sliced which work great)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pitted dates chopped in half
1 1/3 cup dark chopped chocolate (chocolate chips work, but I love using decadent rich chocolate like this Scharffen Berger chocolate that has incredible flavor)
- Pre-heat oven to 300 and line 2 rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil. Toast pecans on one and oats on the other rotating them a time or two. I do this for about 10 minutes on the oats and 7 or so with the nuts because you only want them fragrant, not burnt. The original recipe says to toast the almonds as well, but mine always burn so if I do put almonds in it’s only for a few minutes – the bars are fantastic even if your almonds aren’t toasted.
- Put the oats and the nuts into a large capacity food processor (save parchment). Let cool about 20 minutes then add the dates and salt and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Next add the chopped chocolate and vanilla and mix until all combined. You may need to take a spatula and mix some of the dry into the chocolate here and there, but usually it all just comes together after a few long sessions in the food processor.
- Use the parchment from toasting nuts to line an 8×8 both ways so you can lift the ends up to easily deliver your bars. If you don’t have parchment around it’s not that big a deal, just spray your 8×8 and they should come out pretty well. Push your mixture into the pan pressing the top to make it all flat and uniform then put in the fridge for a good hour or so. Once they are cold they are easy to cut into bars and I then wrap the bars individually with plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge until I need a perfect snack.