Like most people, I hardly have any time in the morning to eat breakfast, let alone prepare it.  This is where these morning energy bars come in handy.  They’re the perfect way to start your day, as they contain proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates and an abundance of micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.  Best part is that they can be made in advance, so you just grab one and go in the morning!

Makes 9 bars
2 cups chopped pitted dates
2 tbsp raw cacao powder (see Tips)
3 tbsp raw agave nectar (see Tips)
2 tbsp water
1⁄4 cup raw cashews
1⁄4 cup walnuts
1⁄4 cup raw whole almonds
3 tbsp raw shelled hemp seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
Pinch fine sea salt

1. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process dates, cacao powder, agave nectar and water until smooth. Add cashews, walnuts, almonds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds and salt. Process until the ingredients come together to form a sticky mass, stopping the motor once and scraping down the sides of the work bowl.

2. Transfer to a cutting board. Using your hands, press out the mixture until it is 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and shape into a square about 6 inches (15 cm) long. Cut into 9 bars, each approximately 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. Place on a platter or baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for one hour to set. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

There are numerous varieties of dates, but Medjool are my favorite. Although they are generally more expensive, they are larger, softer and ideal for using in raw food recipes.

Cacao powder is powdered raw chocolate. Is it similar to cocoa powder but tastes even better, with a deeper, richer flavor. Cacao powder is available in well-stocked supermarkets, natural foods stores and online. If you are transitioning to a raw foods diet or can’t find it, substitute an equal quantity of good-quality cocoa powder.

When purchasing agave nectar, be sure to look for products labeled “raw.” Most of the agave nectar on the market has been heated to a high temperature and does not qualify as raw food. If you have concerns, ask your purveyor.

Excerpted from Eat Raw, Eat Well by Douglas McNish © 2012 Robert Rose Inc.
Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.
Photo credit: Colin Erricson

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