Chocolate Orange Naked Bars

IMG_4142Okay, so these are actually called Cocoa Orange Nakd Bars, but I didn’t want to infringe on anyone’s trademark (and I figured I’d get more hits for having “naked” in the title) so I added the “e”. Clever!

When I was in Scotland, it became pretty clear that getting Paleo-friendly snacks on the go was as easy as it is here in the States. Read: virtually impossible. Craig and I were in Tesco or Sainsbury’s (Tesbury’s?) when he chucked a couple of these my way. A quick scan of the ingredients revealed nothing offensive…just a simple quartet of dates, cocoa, orange and almonds. Now, who knows if the orange is just orange flavoring or not, but they seemed pretty benign. Recently, though, I endeavored to recreate this treat, and I think the outcome is even better than the original. They’re kinda sorta Lara bar-y but better, I think. I’d file these under the “treat” category since they are high in natural sugar from the dates. Definitely not ideal for the Whole30 crowd, but an occasional indulgence for the rest of you.

Disclaimer: you’ll either need a food processor or the patience of a saint (if you chop the ingredients by hand) to make these.

Prep time: 15 min     Freeze time: 20 min    Makes: 8″ x 8″ pan

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups of nuts (I used 1 cup almonds + 1/2 cup macadamia…baller status, I know. Use whatever you like or is on hand.)
  • 20 Medjool dates (these are the big, fat, squishy ones)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • Zest of one large orange
  • 1 Tbsp orange juice
  • Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

  1. Line an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with plastic wrap or wax paper. Set aside.
  2. Add the nuts to the food processor and pulse down until they become small, crumbly bits. Don’t let it go too long or it will become nut butter – er, not that there’s anything wrong with that but it won’t help this recipe. Some pieces may be a bit bigger and some might be tiny. That’s okay. Pour the nuts in a large bowl.
  3. Now, pit the dates and put them in the food processor. Pulse about 5 times until they are slightly broken down.
  4. Add the cocoa powder, orange zest, orange juice and sea salt.
  5. Process until the dates form a huge chocolatey ball.
  6. Now, with clean hands: add the chocolatey dates to the nuts and combine both together. You’ll have to knead pretty well but keep at it.
  7. Once all the nuts are blended in, you’ll take the lump of deliciousness and put it in the baking dish. Press the mixture into the dish until it’s packed down and smooth.
  8. Freeze for 20 minutes until firm.
  9. Turn out the mixture onto a cutting board and chop into pieces as big or small as you’d like. I usually make 12 bars from one dish.
  10. I individually wrap them. They can be frozen for a couple months if packed to withstand freezer burn. If not, store in the fridge for short term use.
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