Cocoa-Nut Butter Energy Chunks

>> Tuesday, January 5, 2010

There's something incredibly satisfying about looking at all the stuff that goes into a treat you've made. At least that's the case for me. Above are most of the ingredients that went into this amazing energy chunk . . . which is by far my favorite one to date. Hazelnuts, seven-grain cereal, peanut butter, coconut, cocoa, agave, and dried cherries.

While I'm on the topic of ingredients, I thought you might all like to know what I consider kitchen staples these days (if you haven't picked up on what they are already). These foods are healthy, flavorful, and not too terribly expensive. They adapt to a variety of baked good and other recipes . . .

  • Oats (steel cut or old fashioned) - great base for energy chunks and other cookies, etc.
  • Seven-grain hot cereal - again, great base.
  • Coconut flakes (unsweetened) - adds lots of flavor, texture with few calories.
  • Carob and vegan chocolate chips - fantastic for baked goods and on their own.
  • Soy milk - good sub. for regular milk. or try almond milk!
  • Cocoa powder - again, adds lots of flavor with few calories
  • Honey and agave - alternative, natural sweeteners.
  • Walnuts, hazelnuts, any nuts - good source of protein, adds well into most recipes
  • Vegetable stock - excellent for making simple, easy soups.
  • Dried fruit (like cranberries, cherries, apples, raisins) - added nutrition, easy to incorporate into muffins, cookies, etc.
  • Unsweetened applesauce - good substitute for egg in most baked goods (1/4 cup per egg).
  • Broccoli - healthy, tastes good, soaks up anything you throw onto it.
  • Kale - throw it in soups, eat it alone, nutritional powerhouse.
  • Brown rice - good base for homemade crackers and as a healthy side carbohydrate
  • Avocados - they are my favorite, eat them plain or blend into a chilled soup, etc.
  • Olive oil, sesame oil - healthy fat
  • Coconut milk - throw it in soups, substitute in for milk, it's just fun to have around.
  • Canned beans, tomatoes (fire-roasted), chickpeas, - make a quick hummus, chili, or anything - the key is FAST.
  • Tahini - a little investment will save you a lot of dough when you can make your own hummus. seriously. we do it all the time.
  • Balsamic and white wine vinegar - good for salads, sauces, and adding punch.
  • Garlic and onions - cheap, low-calorie FLAVOR.
  • Cayenne pepper and regular pepper - again, flavor and HEAT.
  • Peanut butter - eat it right off the spoon or etc.

Back to the energy chunks! This recipe makes a giant batch, I believe just over 2 dozen. Check 'em out:

What you'll need . . .

  • 1 cup seven grain hot cereal (but not prepared, use it as is)
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts
  • 1/3 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries or cranberries

Method . . .

  1. Put all ingredients (except the dried cherries or cranberries) in a food processor and blend.
  2. In a large bowl, mix in the dried fruit and add more peanut butter if batter is too stiff.
  3. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Keep in your fridge.

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