I have been trying to make more nutrient-dense choices in my diet. This is especially important because I am not home much during the school year. If I want to have a steady level of energy throughout the day, I need to eat a high-protein, high-fiber, high-complex carbohydrate breakfast (see my peanut butter-banana granola, strawberry-banana oatmeal muffins, and whole wheat gingerbread-flax muffins). I usually have a light lunch, a larger dinner, and several high energy snacks scattered in between.
I found Elena Amsterdam's gluten-free almond power bar recipe on her amazing gluten-free blog. I have never encountered such a nutrient-packed recipe. I have made some modifications to her recipe. These include: substituting brown rice syrup for the coconut oil, eliminating the agave nectar and stevia, reducing the amount of vanilla extract from one tablespoon to one teaspoon, reducing the amount of salt from 1/2 teaspoon to 1/4 teaspoon, and reducing the amount of dark chocolate from 1 cup to 1/3 cup. I also refrained from adding the chocolate in its melted form (by spreading it on top). I decided the bars would be more texturally complex if I roughly chopped the chocolate and pressed it into the bars. I am very satisfied with the end product. They taste so yummy!
COCONUT-ALMOND-FLAX POWER BARS WITH DARK CHOCOLATE CHUNKS
Yield= 12 Bars
-2 cups raw almonds
-1/2 cup ground flax seed
-1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
-1/2 cup roasted almond butter, unsalted
-1/2 cup brown rice syrup
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-1/3 cup high quality dark chocolate, chopped (I used one 1.65 oz. bar of "72% Cacao Belgian Dark Chocolate" from Trader Joe's ©)
Line an 8" x 8" pan with parchment paper. I used a non-stick silicon 8" x 8" pan, so I skipped this step.
Add all ingredients, except chocolate, into a food processor and pulse until thoroughly combined. The mixture will start to stick together when it is ready. Pour mixture into the prepared 8" x 8" pan. Toss in the chopped dark chocolate, and firmly press the mixture into the pan.
Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about one hour.
Cut into 12 bars, and individually wrap each in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator and enjoy!