I've always loved protein bars and am always searching for healthy snack recipes for both myself and my granddaughters. I love these because they are healthy, portable, and sustainable. Try one for breakfast on the go, or as a pick-me-up snack throughout the day. The adults and kids will go crazy for these. You might just want to double up the recipe!
2 cups dates, pitted, and packed firmly in measuring cup
3/4 cup unsalted peanuts (roasted are a good option)
3/4 cup unsalted raw cashews
1/4 cup pecans, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup ground flax seed (not whole)
1/2 cup dried (no sugar added) cherries or cranberries
1 cup raw (unsweetened) flaked or shredded coconut
1/2 cup mini dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli's)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1) In a Kitchen Ninja, food processor or other type of blender appliance, grind the flax seed on pulse for 40 seconds.
2) Remove lid and add dates, peanuts, cashews, and salt. Replace lid and pulse for 30 seconds. Scrape mixture down side of blender. Blend on a medium speed until the ingredients are well blended and mixture sticks together when pressed together.
3) If using a Kitchen Ninja, replace the blade with the dough paddle. Add the chopped pecans, coconut, dried cherries or cranberries, and chocolate chips to the mix. Blend until mixture is thoroughly combined. If using a blender, pour blended contents into a bowl after mixing is finished,and stir in the additional ingredients by hand until combined.
4) Place mixture on a piece of wax paper or parchment paper (do not use foil or saran wrap) and cover with an additional piece. Slowly flatten the mixture out with a rolling pin, or by hand, pressing firmly yet gently. Keep shaping the sides to form a rectangular shape while you are rolling out the mix.
5) Roll out the mixture to your desired thickness; the thicker, the better it will hold up. I roll mine out to approximately 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick. If using 1/2 inch thickness, you should have an 8 x 8 inch square when you are done rolling out the mix.
6) Place the rolled out mixture on a cookie sheet and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from refrigerator and slice into 10 to 12 equal bars. You can layer these in a tight-sealing Rubbermaid-type container by placing layers of parchment or wax paper in between rows of the cut bars.
Makes 10 to 12 servings. Store in tightly sealed container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.