Chocolate Snack Bars

It's impossible to not love RXBARs. Especially the chocolate and the peanut butter varieties. But we have a peanut allergy in our household so I strive to make desserts, snacks and bars from scratch in order to keep them peanut-free. One of the things I love about RXBARs is they have zero added sugar. The sweetness comes from the naturally occurring fructose in dates. My recipe below has just three grams of added sugar per serving if you slice the recipe into nine bars, or two grams of added sugar per serving if you slice them into twelve bars. Not bad considering they are delicious and chocolaty and chewy.

Chocolate Snack Bars

1 cup old fashioned oats

½ cup raw sunflower seeds

½ cup walnuts

¼ cup flaxseed meal

12 dates

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

¼ teaspoon salt

2½ scoops chocolate protein powder

¼ cup slivered almonds

¼ cup mini chocolate chips

4-7 tablespoons water

Add the oats and the sunflower seeds to a large skillet and turn on the stove to medium heat. Toast the mixture while stirring constantly for about four minutes, until the mixture becomes fragrant and the oats look just slightly golden. In a food processor combine the toasted oat and sunflower seed mixture with walnuts, flaxseed meal and dates. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly with no large chunks. Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients except water. Stir to combine thoroughly.

Add four tablespoons of water, stir with a spoon. If the mixture does not hold together and there are some dry ingredients that don't stick together, then add another tablespoon of water and stir again. Continue adding one tablespoon of water at a time just until it holds together (it will probably be about 6-7 tablespoons total).

Spread a sheet of parchment paper on the countertop, about 15 inches wide. Pour out the mixture onto the parchment and use your fingers to flatten it out into a square that is approximately 8" X 8". The mixture will be sticky, so I recommend using a small piece of either wax paper or parchment paper to press down instead of your bare hands.

Once you have created a square of about 8" X 8", use a large knife to cut into bars of equal size: either 9 squares or 12 rectangles.

Store in a refrigerator until ready to eat. Or store in the freezer and allow to thaw before eating.