Friday, 3 March 2017

Nearly Nak'd energy bars

Fudgy, chocolatey and moreish; these are absolutely PACKED with healthy fats and nutrients. Purely the good stuff. I'm on a bit of a health kick but still trying to basically eat as much chocolate as I can at the same time haha; so these bars are a nice compromise. Nuts, dried fruit and dark cocoa - delicious.

I call these Nearly Nakd bars because they're loosely based on these:

and full of almost all the same good things:

I prefer mine to the real ones because I like being able to add my own flavours and mine are more chocolate-y. The makes about 16 bars so it's much cheaper than buying that many.

If you'd like to make them you will need:
-1/2 mug of dates
-1/2 mug cashews
-1/2 mug raisins
-1 mug of dark cocoa powder; the best quality you can afford
-1/2 bar of dark chocolate
-1 tbsp of coconut oil
-1 tsp of turmeric
-The juice and rind of 1 orange (if you would like a chocolate orange bar)
-A mint tea bag (5 mint tea bags if you would like a chocolate mint bar)

The first thing you need to do is soak the dates. If you have mejool dates then you don't need to do this but for everyone out there not wanting to spend $$$ on dates then just buy the cheap ones and soak them. Also - pat yourself on the back because seriously it's dates, why would you spend a lot of money on fancy dates? Baffles me. So either use the fancy dates as they are or put the regular dates in about 300ml of hot mint tea and leave them for 15 minutes. You can see when they're ready because the skin gets quite loose. It will look a bit disgusting. This is normal so don't panic.

The next step is lifting the weird lumpy dates out of the tea and blitzing them together with 1/2 of the mint-tea, the raisins and the cashews. If you need to add more liquid then add the mint tea little by little or add the juice of the orange. Add as much liquid as you need to to get the ingredients just binding together. You want the bars to have texture and bite so don't make a smooth pulp. You're aiming for something a little like this:

The next stage is adding grated orange rind and tumeric. You don't have to add tumeric but you can't really taste it and it's supposed to be really good for you so I just do it. I'm not sure if any of the health benefits have been officially proven or not but if it might be good for me then I'm of the 'give it a go' mindset.

Next, melt the dark chocolate; I added a tbsp of coconut oil to speed it up a bit. You can use a bain marie if you like, but I just microwave it. I know microwaving can make you burn the chocolate but I I really can't be bothered to faff about with a water bath.

Now we need to combine everything together. We're going to add half of the cocoa powder to the mixture. It will look like a lot. Roll with it. You need to have a stiff mixture so you can make the bars. It's a bit of an effort but it's the only way to get them into bars so push through the arm ache haha.

Mix it in as best as you can. Mine looked like this at the end:

Now for the messy part; forming the mixture into bars.

Get a baking dish lined with greaseproof paper and distribute the mixture on one side. You want to start pressing the mixture down with a fork to make the bars. They should be about 2cm tall and as long as you want to make them. I made mine about 10cm long but just do whatever you want. Remember to really squidge the mix down; you want to compress everything together as much as possible.

Now we need to add the other half of that cocoa powder. Spread it out all over the mixture and gently press down with a fork. Again the amount of cocoa powder will seem a bit alarming but it makes the bars a lot easier to handle so definitely don't skip this. It should look like this when you're finished:

The hard bit is all done now! Just put the mix in the fridge for about 20 minutes and then cut the bars as you like them.

These keep well for about a week and are really easy to take to work. Just wrap them in some clingfilm or greaseproof paper and enjoy. I love to have one before the gym as a bit of an energy boost.


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