Friday, June 24, 2011

Green Fig Bars

As you probably have already noticed, I love to make raw nut based "protein" bars. Whenever I go to an event, or want to bake something healthy for someone that is easy and does not take much time, I turn to my protein bar recipes. Remember my Sunbutter Chocolate Raisin Protein bars? And my Original Nourishing Protein bar recipe, look here and here? They are always a hit! I am always asked for the recipe. I am definitely a kitchen experimentor, I am definitely creative in the kitchen and so as I discover new ingredients (spirulina, coconut cream, zante currants) each different type of bar takes on a slightly different texture and flavor. The one thing I never change? Chocolate :)

This bar is all about figs! Have you ever tried a dried organic turkish fig? They are fantastic! After biting through the slightly tough outer layer, there are myriads of little tiny gooey fig seeds inside. I really enjoy biting off the tops and then stuffing them with other ingredients like homemade peanut butter and creamy coconut cream. They make the perfect snack! Figs are the star in this recipe, since I used some figs for the base and also some yummy fig jam. The bars look green because I used some spirulina. After seeing it on so many food blogs and then researching it myself, I decided to buy some at my local health food store and give it a try. I am surprised how it smells like algae - that was something I did not expect... but since it IS algae I do not really know what I was expecting it to smell like! The spirulina gives the bar a nutritional boost and a lovely green color. But don't worry, you can't taste any funny algae-like flavor in this bar.

Green Fig Bars

    4 large medjool dates - pitted
    1/3 cup organic raisins
    4 organic turkish figs
    1/2 cup roasted and salted macadamia nuts
    1 T fig jam - I used St. Dalfour, since it has no cane sugar
    1 T organic coconut oil
    1 T organic chia seeds
    1/2 tsp spirulina
    1 tsp vietnamese cinnamon (it's stronger than grocery store cinnamon and more flavorful)
    1/2 tsp sea salt

Chocolate topping (choose either):
    Handful or two of 100% baking chips or unsweetened chocolate - melted
    1/4-1/2 cup raw cacao powder + 1/4-1/2 cup coconut cream - melted and whisked together

To make your bars:
1.  In your food processor, blend dates, raisins, figs and nuts, until it reaches a coarsely ground texture. Pulse the mixture for a few times at the beginning to get it started.
2.  Add jam, oil, chia seeds, spirulina, cinnamon and salt to the food processor and process until combined. Mixture will be on the "wet" side.
3.  Using a square muffin pan (mine looks like this), place little bit of the bar mixture into each spot and push down with your fingers (helps to keep placing your fingers in a bowl of cold water).
4.  Pour type of melted chocolate of choice on top of each fig bar. Place in the freezer until set. Carefully remove from pan and store in the refrigerator. I wrap mine individually with plastic wrap.

These make a great snack! If you do not particularly like figs, try using raspberry or blueberry jam and use more dates instead of figs. Or you could just make some Sunbutter Chocolate Raisin Protein bars or Original Nourishing Proteins bars. They are all crowd pleasers, and no one will know that they are eating a healthy treat that is grain-free, full of both protein and fat which will give them lasting energy.

Enjoy your homemade protein / energy / chocolate green fig bars :)

Ps. Wondering what that triangle shaped treat is in the picture? You'll have to wait until next post :)

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