Brownie Flavoured Energy Bars

It’s Saturday, it’s my long weekend, and tonight I’m going to the annual Port of Wines Festival in Halifax for a Grand Tasting. It’s my first Grand Tasting so I’m already trying to make up a game plan in terms of how do I get out of there alive. One ounce samples multiplied by 65 tables of vendors offering two to three samples at each table mean, I can only drink one third of the samples, if I plan to not to get alcohol poisoning. If I make it out in one piece, I’ll report to you on Monday about it. 

On to these bars.

I’ll be honest with you guys, I got a ton of raw sunflower seeds at a great price and then I thought I would make vanilla sunflower seed butter for the blog. I kind of failed, but there is a silver lining I’ll explain. My first attempt didn’t butter up, literally,  it stayed mealy and I didn’t know what to do with it. I now know that I need an actual food processor to make any nut or seed butters because every recipe or blog I read tell me, I almost made it, it just needed to be a more powerful processor and I probably needed to run it for quite a long while. I have a mini-processor which is great for hummus and small mincing jobs but not for nut butters.  The silver lining is that I got to make these babies. I actually wasn’t sure if they would turn out, I just dumped a few things together and hoped for the best. I got so many compliments and good feedback from them though that I’m posting the recipe.

I used the idea of LARABARS, nut and fruit energy bars to create these freezer bars that taste like brownies when they come to room temperature. I used only natural sugars and if you use dairy free chocolate you can make them vegan. They are not technically raw because of the boiling water but they will keep in your freezer for 1-2 weeks, makes 12 bars under 200 calories a bar. You can also substitute the type of protein powder you use I just prefer hemp and the texture goes un-noticed here. Bonus, with the right ingredients they can easily be made gluten-free.

Brownie Flavoured Energy Bars

Sunflower ‘Butter’

  • 1 cup of raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract or the contents of one vanilla bean
  • 1 tbs vegetable or flax oil
  • a pinch of salt

bars

  • 1 recipe of sunflower ‘butter’
  • 2 cup of pitted dates, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 2 tbs flax seed
  • 1 tbs chia seed
  • 1/3 cup of Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 2 cups of large flake oats
  • 1/4 cup of hemp protein powder
  • handful of chocolate chips (optional)
  • pinch of salt

Method

Make the sunflower seed butter.

Place the insides of a vanilla bean and the sunflowers into a food processor and let run for about 2 minutes.

Add oil and salt and continue to process an additional 3- 5 minutes.

If you want more of a butter for toast, keep running the food processor it can take quite a while (up to 10 minutes) but it will eventually turn to a more liquid state.

Prepare a 9″x11″ baking dish with non-stick spray.

Add dates to a liquid measuring cup, they should be loosely packed, and you can use less if you want the bars to be less sweet. The dates add a chewy texture and bind the bars so I wouldn’t cut it down under 1+1/2 cups. Pour boiling water over dates and let sit for a few minutes. The water re-hydrates the dates and makes it more of a ;paste’ that is easier to work with. You will need to push the dates on top into the ones below and if needed, place in the microwave for a minute to make sure they all absorb a little water and become soft.

Empty sunflower butter into a medium bowl and add to it the oats, chia and flax seeds,hemp protein powder and cocoa. Mix well until all is combined.

Once the date mixture is consistent and cool enough to touch, add to the oats. Mix with a wooden spoon and use your hands if you need to, it will feel almost like playdough. Add  chocolate chips, and once everything is combined, press into the prepared pan and freeze for 2 hours.

Cut into 12 bars, wrap individually and store in freezer for up to 2 weeks. They can stay at room temperature for a few hours, and everyone I gave one too preferred them at room temperature, but they are easier to cut and wrap when they are frozen. Enjoy!

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