These bars are sweet and satisfying for kids of all ages. My athletic nephew Taevan loves them so much that I decided they should be called T-bars. They make excellent energy bars for athletes and people on the run. I developed these when I was training for my first 5K charity race for Camp Ooch, which supports kids undergoing cancer treatment. The dates provide B vitamins, fibre and energy for running while avoiding the sugar crash. The unrefined pink salt gives you extra electrolyte minerals, and the cacao boosts energy. I love that you can make these in advance for events and parties.
2 cups pitted Medjool dates (about 13 dates; see Tip)
1 cup chopped raw nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans) or raw seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)
¼ cup collagen, gelatin or pumpkin seed protein powder
2 tablespoons cocoa or cacao powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of unrefined pink salt
¼ cup hemp hearts, chia seeds, raw pumpkin seeds, unsweetened shredded coconut, goji berries or sugar-free chocolate chips
½ cup melted sugar-free chocolate chips
1. Line an 11- × 7-inch baking dish with unbleached parchment paper.
2. Combine the dates, nuts, collagen, cocoa powder, vanilla and salt in a food processor. Process until a fine crumble forms.
3. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Evenly spread and press the mixture into the dish to 1-inch thickness. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes.
4. Slice into bars using a butter knife. If using optional toppings or chocolate, press them into the unsliced bars or pour an even layer of melted chocolate over the bars before slicing. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month or in the
freezer for up to 6 months.
Makes 16 bars.
Tip: Medjool dates are ideal because they are soft and easy to process. If unavailable, you can soften regular pitted dates by soaking them in hot water for a few minutes and draining them well. The water will shorten the life of the bars, so store them in the freezer once made.
Vegan Option: Use pumpkin seed protein powder. Check chocolate chips for traces of dairy.
This recipe can be found in my 4th book, Becoming Sugar-Free on page 214.
Excerpted with permission from Penguin Canada from the book Becoming Sugar-Free: How to break up with inflammatory sugars and embrace a naturally sweet life by Julie Daniluk. All rights reserved.