Packed with Omega-3’s, protein, and fiber, this date-cocoa-seed bar gets its superpower from good old-fashioned nutrients rather than sugar. The flavors are based on the Chocolate Fudge UltraMeal Rice Bar by Metagenics, but we think it looks and tastes heaps better. Plus, it doesn’t cost $2.50 a pop. Highway robbery never tastes very good. Superpowers are delicious.
What to buy: Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, and antioxidants, chia seeds can be found online or at many health food and grocery stores. Crispy brown rice cereal, wheat germ, brown rice syrup, and flax seed meal can also be found at most health food and grocery stores. Be sure to use Medjool dates: They have enough sugar and moisture to keep the bars from drying out.
Nutritional information: Serving Size 1 Bar (1.8 oz/53g), Calories 205, Total Fat 10.7g, Saturated Fat 1.4g, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 0.8mg, Sodium 155.9mg, Total Carb 18.9g, Fiber 5.1g, Sugars 5.4g, Protein 5.1g. (Nutritional information was calculated via SparkRecipes’ Recipe Calculator.)
Oil, for coating the pan
1½ cups crispy brown rice cereal
½ cup raw sliced almonds
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup raw wheat germ
2 tablespoons whole chia seeds
2 tablespoons flax seed meal
1 cup dried Medjool dates (about 6 ounces), pitted
¼ cup natural smooth unsalted almond butter
¼ cup brown rice syrup
½ teaspoon fine salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with butter; set aside.
2. Place rice cereal, almonds, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, chia seeds, and flax seed meal on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with your hands to combine, and spread in an even layer. Bake, stirring halfway through, until almonds are fragrant and lightly toasted, about 12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
3. Place cereal mixture in a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse until the mixture is broken up and the largest pieces are about the size of uncooked grains of rice, about 5 (1-second) pulses. Transfer to a medium bowl; set aside.
4. Place dates in the food processor and process until finely chopped and a ball forms, about 15 seconds; set aside.
5. Place almond butter, rice syrup, salt, and vanilla in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until mixture is combined and runs like slow-moving lava, about 1 minute. Remove from heat, immediately add reserved dates and cocoa powder, and, using a wooden spoon, stir, smashing down on the dates, until well combined and no streaks of cocoa remain. Add reserved cereal mixture and stir, pressing as you do, until evenly combined. (This takes some muscle and time, about 5 minutes.) Transfer to the prepared baking pan and, using your hands, spread and firmly press the mixture into the pan. Let cool completely.
6. Remove the date-seed slab from the pan. Cut it in half to form two rectangles, then cut each rectangle widthwise into 5 bars to form 10 bars total. Wrap each bar in plastic wrap. Store at room temperature for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 weeks; let frozen bars come to room temperature before eating. Makes 10 bars. –Jill Santopietro for CHOW.com.