Chocolate Quinoa Energy Bars

I was craving something chocolaty, which is nothing new, and instead of making cookies, I opted to try these bars instead.  They are fudg-y and feel decadent but offer a balanced profile of protein, carbohydrates, healthful fats and loads of nutrients.  The quinoa and hemp seeds adds a nice, healthy crunch.

I also opted to add a little maca powder for an extra boost of energy.  If you’re not familiar with maca, it is a Peruvian root and part of the radish family that is most commonly found in powder form.  It is rich in vitamins B, C and E and containing calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids.  Maca is also known for its ability to boost energy levels, alleviate symptoms of stress or anxiety, aid in skin sensitivity and is generally good for your health. {For more regarding the benefits of maca, go here}.

These bars are portable, packable and perfect sweet treat to refuel your body after a work out.  My kind of treat!

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(slightly adapted from Food & Nutrition Magazine)

INGREDIENTS

  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tbs maca powder
  • ½ cup, plus 2 tbs raw, shelled hemp seeds, divided
  • 1 1/3 cups packed pitted dried dates (approximately 7.5 oz)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup fat-free milk or unsweetened plant-based milk
    • I used unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup dry quinoa, rinsed and well drained

RECIPE

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Line the bottom of a 9-by-13 inch nonstick baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.  Stir together cocoa powder, flour and ½ cup hemp seeds in a medium bowl and set aside.  Place dates, eggs, milk, honey, vanilla extract and salt in a blender.  Cover and puree on high for about 1 minute.  Add coconut oil and puree on high for about 30 seconds.

Pour contents into large bowl.  Add the cocoa mixture and stir until just combined.  Add quinoa and stir until it’s evenly combined.  Pour batter into prepared baking pan and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons hemp seeds.  Bake until it’s springy to the touch, about 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and cut into 12 bars.

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Chocolate Quinoa Energy Bars

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