Mint Chocolate Power Bars

By placing two pillows under my left elbow, I can hold sleeping baby Gabriel with one arm and type this text on the laptop that is balancing on my right leg with the other hand. It’s brilliant! I can even reach that bowl of soaked oats with raisins, apple and crunchy peanut butter that stands there on the sofa table as a night snack. Okay, maybe not brilliant. This balancing act is pretty tricky actually. And I suspect that my left arm will starting to go numb soon. I should probably focus on my son and just wait for Luise to get back from the shower. But I did promise 192 people on instagram that I would post this recipe today. And I’ve already spent an hour tucking the other two kids to bed with a night story that was so boring that I fell asleep 14 times, so I feel like I really need to do this now or I’ll be starting the year by breaking a promise.

Therefore I am currently writing this post one-handed – sitting in a patchwork plaided sofa in a cute little airbnb apartment in Copenhagen that we’re renting for a few days – chewing on a peanut butter covered apple with a chubby little cherub snoring in my other hand. And Luise thinks I’m bad at multitasking. Ha!

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Before we left, I prepared a batch of power bars for the car-ride down. When they don’t serve as car snacks, we use them as quick energy fuel at home whenever we or the kids are in need of a treat. A chocolate bar (or two) in my gym bag also makes a pretty compelling argument for dragging my tired daddy-of-three body to the gym. The bars rarely last long in our freezer.

Lately, I have been completely hooked on this chocolate and mint combo. Combining fresh mint flavour with rich chocolate always seemed weird to me, but all of a sudden I have changed my mind. It’s brilliant and for some reason extra perfect as workout fuel. This recipe is based on the Hemp Bars in our first book but a little simpler and fresher in flavour. We top them with cacao nibs which not only make them look great but also adds a nice crunch to their texture.

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I asked Isac to assist me when I made these but he was pretty useless. When asked to pit the dates, he placed the dates in his mouth and the stones in the food processor (which made the bars crunchier than intended). He also kept insisting that the cacao nibs were bombs that exploded on the bars, leaving giant craters after them. So if you think the bars look uneven, this little hooligan is to blame.

By the way, I’m not writing one-handed anymore. Halfway along this post, I spilled some oats on Gabriel’s head so he woke up. Luise is nursing him now (and most probably also piercing an imaginary voodoo doll with my face on it with a thousand needles). I am not saying that I spilled on him on purpose. But Luise did spend an awfully long time in the shower. And that spoon was too small to balance oats on anyway.

Yup that was it. First post of the year. Giant craters, crying babies, voodoo dolls and eating chocolate at the gym. And I’m only 44 minutes late for my deadline. Not a bad start.

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Mint Chocolate Power Bars
Makes approx. 18 bars
 

You can add a few tablespoons protein powder of choice (instead of the desiccated coconut) if you are making them as post-workout bars. Nuts can of course also be used instead of the seeds, if preferred.

150 g / 1 cup mixed pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, toasted if preferred
5 tbsp desiccated coconut, unsweetened

4 tbsp chia seeds
3 tbsp cacao powder
50 g / 1/2 cup rolled oats
2 pinches sea salt
4 tbsp virgin coconut oil
180 g soft fresh dates (roughly 16 dates / 1 packed cup), pitted
5 tbsp nut butter of choice (we love using a combination of tahini and cashew butter but peanut butter also works great)
a few drops peppermint oil (or 2-3 tsp dried mint leaves, crushed)

Topping
60 g / ½ cup raw cacao nibs

Line a 16 x 22 cm baking tin with parchment paper.
Add the seeds, coconut, chia seeds, cacao powder, oats and salt to a food processor and pulse on high speed until coarsely crumbly. Pour into a bowl and add coconut oil, dates, nut butter, mint (oil or dried leaves) to the food processor. Run on high speed until entirely smooth and sticky. Add the seed and cacao crumbles and pulse quickly until mixed together. Help out with a spatula in case the mixture isn’t combined. Taste and add more mint flavour or salt if needed, then pulse a few more times.
Transfer to the baking tin and, using the palm of your hand or the back of a spoon (coated in coconut oil), press the mixture down very firmly to create an even and compact bar (roughly 2 cm high). Scatter the cacao nibs on top and use a spatula to press them down slightly into the mixture.
Let set in the freezer for approx. 15-30 minutes before cutting into approx. 18 bars.
Store the bars in an airtight container in the freezer and they will keep for a few months. You can wrap them in baking paper to make them more portable. Thaw them ever so slightly before serving.

NB: For a nut-free alternative, replace the nut butter with a seed butter of choice.

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