I've recently become addicted to the Clif Cocoa Nectar bars...a yummy no-sugar added, 5 organic ingredient energy bar. In reading the ingredient list, I began to wonder if I could make a facsimile of the bar myself. Today was my first attempt. I'll go ahead and type up the recipe I used today but it will definitely be tweaked next time around. The texture still isn't right, and I think that it might be improved if I had less sticky dates. A dehydrator would probably do the trick, but I don't think that's an investment I'm going to make anytime soon. I overcompensated for the sticky dates by adding more cocoa powder. Fun to play around with this in any case.
I ended up with a fairly healthy bar about the consistency of chocolate fudge. Really good if you need a chocolate fix!
I used whole organic Medjool dates. This info was copied from a web site..."Medjool are large, deep-red coloured dates, usually from Jordan or California. They're expensive but worth it for their delicious toffee-like taste. You can buy clusters of dates still on the stem or packaged in boxes - stoned or with the stones still in. Buy stone-in dates for the best flavour."
They were really yummy. Think I'm gonna have to go eat another 1/2 bar. ;-)
Update: I really don't think I'll have to change a thing about this recipe next time I make them.
They set up to a really nice consistency just wrapped in the parchment, then stored in ziplock bags.
Cocoa Nectar Bars...first attempt:
Made 8 bars after the stuff I ate in taste testing.
1 cup organic dates, pitted
2 squares of Ghiradelli (they're smaller than a regular bar of baker's choc.) unsweetened baker's chocolate, melted (I nuked it for about 30 seconds)
5-6 Tbs high quality unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Valrhona...it was over 4 bucks for .29 lb in the bulk section, but soooo worth it)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
~1/3 cup walnuts, divided (I ground some as fine as I could then left some chunky)
Combine the dates, ~4 Tbs cocoa powder, vanilla and ground walnuts in a food processor and pulse until all ingredients are as mixed as they can get. It'll turn into a big wad eventually. Add the melted chocolate and try to blend further.
Remove the "dough" to a piece of parchment. Knead in the remaining cocoa powder and the chunkier walnut pieces, until the mixture is well homogenized.
Shape the dough into a long roll, that is about 3/4 inch thick . Cut into ~4" lengths and then shape into bars.
Wrap individually in parchment paper, and then keep them in a ziplock bag.