I love studying journalism, but it can make for some hectic weeks leading up to finals. With papers, newspaper assignments and occasional tests, I get pushed pretty darn near the edge — and I’m not even sure what the edge is. I don’t have enough time to think about it.
That’s why I need all the shortcuts I can get. Not only are these bites no-bake, but they are also delicious, wholesome and filled with protein… As well as some natural sugar, which gives me a little boost.
Energy Bites, two ways
Chocolate Chunk Squares
2 C almonds 1 C dark chocolate chips 3 C prunes, packed 2 T natural peanut butter
In a food processor, grind almonds into desired consistency (anything from a fine powder to slightly chunky). Add in chocolate chips and pulse so that chocolate chips are well chopped. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Place prunes in the food processor. Process until a rough paste forms. Add the almond mixture back to the food processor. Add in peanut butter. Process until everything is combined, scraping down the sides as needed. Grease the bottom of a 9 x 13 inch pan. Evenly press the mixture down into the pan. Note: I used a cup to roll it out. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before cutting. Cut into 2 x 2 inch squares. Keep refrigerated to store.
This first batch reminded me of brownies. Obviously, I love that. But, after making it, my wheels started turning as I though of ways to adapt the bars.
I decided to melt the chocolate, to make the bites a little smoother and I added in 1 t coconut oil to make the bars a little firmer. To switch it up, I also substituted dried apricots for the prunes.
Because I already had a full pan of the first batch, I downsized the ingredients for a smaller yield.
Chocolate Fruit Bites
1/2 C almonds 1/4 C dark chocolate chips 1 t coconut oil 1 C dried apricots, packed 1/2 T natural peanut butter
In a small bowl, microwave the chocolate chips and coconut oil for 30 seconds. Stir until smooth. Microwave for additional 15-second increments as needed until the chocolate is melted. In a food processor, grind almonds into desired consistency (anything from a fine powder to slightly chunky). Pour in the melted chocolate mixture. Process until thoroughly mixed. Pour the chocolate-almond mixture into a small bowl. Set aside. Add dried apricots to the food processor and grind until it forms a rough paste. Add the almond mixture back in. Add in the peanut butter. Process until everything is combined and the desired consistency is reached. Grease a loaf pan. Pour the mixture into the pan. Evenly press down. Note: I only used half of the pan for thicker bites. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before cutting. Cut into 1 x 1 inch bites. Keep refrigerated to store.
Whereas the first batch reminded me of brownies, these reminded me a bit of fruity fudge. Both options are delicious — plus, it was fun to experiment in the kitchen and avoid my homework for a while.