Variants of my raw cacao treat balls occupy a permanent position in our fridge, and that's because we make them weekly . . and as they disappear, I always make a new batch :) They are the first thing I reach for after a busy day at work . . . a super nutritious, raw cacao (aka chocolate) fix, enjoyed by my whole family. So I decided it was time I developed a nut-free version that my girls could take to school, and shaped them into little bars for something different. Of course, you can try this with any fudgy treat ball recipe, as long as it isn't too soft. A little coconut oil helps the mix to set in the fridge.
My girls quite happily nibble on sunflower seeds as a snack so I kept them chunky, which I think looks pretty. . . you could always grind them so they disappear :) I love the little specs of pink through the fudge from the goji berries too. My girls don't like goji berries on their own, but always eat them in my treat balls. . . any way I can get goodness into them is a good way I say! By grinding your own dry, freeze-dried or dehydrated superfruits, you can effectively make your own superfruit powder . . . I had a jar of dehydrated pomegranate seeds in the pantry which I had prepared myself when fresh pomegranates were fleetingly available in Hong Kong recently. Over this time, I also enjoyed using my Thermomix to de-seed and grind up the pomegranate 'berries', and used a nut milk bag to filter the blended mixture into a fresh juice . . . oh so yummy and nutritious!
Oh, and if you can't get past nuts in this type of recipe, then by all means swap the sunflower seeds for cashews, almonds or walnuts (or a combination of them all). You can grind them at step 2 with the chia seeds and cacao beans or chop them roughly as I do with the sunflower seeds in this recipe at step 3. For a flavour variation, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil . . . my girls have already requested peppermint next make :)
Enjoy the amazing burst of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients!!
50g chia seeds
80g raw cacao beans or nibs
100g dried goji berries
40g dehydrated pomegranate seeds (or your choice of dry or freeze-dried berries)
100g sunflower seeds (preferably activated) - you could also use sesame seeds
180g fresh medjool dates
3 tbsp raw cacao powder
1 tbsp superfood powder blend (optional)
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
20-30g coconut oil
8 drops of peppermint or orange essential oil (optional)
1. Add chia seeds and cacao beans to the TM bowl and grind for 20 seconds on speed 9, (you can add the sunflower seeds at this step too if you don't want them to be chunky). Decant and set aside.
2. Grind goji berries and dehydrated pomegranate seeds on speed 9 for 10-30 seconds into a 'superfruit' powder, (the grinding time will depend on the choice of fruit you use here).
3. Return the ground chia and cacao beans to the TM bowl, and add all remaining ingredients. NOTE: If your dates are not especially soft, you may need to add a few more. Mix on speed 8 for 20-30 seconds to combine, or until the mixture come together and is squishable when you press it between your thumb and fingers :)
4. Press mixture evenly into a medium-sized square edged tray or cake tin greased with a little coconut oil or lined with baking paper, (I used a 20 x 20cm cake tin). Allow to stiffen for at least 30 minutes in the fridge before slicing into small bars or squares. Makes 28. Enjoy! These bars keep very well in the refrigerator.
You will need to employ a coffee grinder or some equally powerful device to grind up your cacao beans and seeds. You should be able to combine all ingredients using a powerful food processor. Good luck :)