Five Minute Raw Cacao Snack Bars

Happy Monday!

Don’t let the enthusiasm fool you: I spent the better part of my day cramming for a calculus midterm and wishing that my weekend frolics with Anne, Evan, Matt, and Sana hadn’t ended. I even checked airfare to Raleigh a couple of times (to be clear, Anne is getting her R.D. at UNC Chapel Hill), so it’s appropriate that the title of today’s recipe—Five Minute Raw Cacao Snack Bars—is inspired by Anne’s famous five minute packable lunches and snacks, which you can peruse here.

Fact: I’m not a fast cook. I can be fast if I have to be, but by nature I’m too methodical to work quickly. It’s the perfectionist in me: I like my ingredients carefully measured, my textures perfect, my meals balanced. I’ve always been grateful for the fact that I’m a raw foods lover, because they’re hard to belabor. The raw recipes I love—soups, salads, pates, wraps—are just too simple to get too nitpicky over, and they tend to work against my own impulses toward overthinking things in the kitchen.

Case in point: these ridiculously easy and tasty raw snack bars. These are very reminiscent of my lemon kissed cashew hemp bars, except the base is exclusively cashew and date (no hemp). I’ve found that simply using a 1:1 cashew to date ratio in my raw snack bars works out perfectly (1 cup cashews for every 1 cup dates, for instance). I grind the nuts in my processor, add the dates, run the motor, wait for the whole thing to clump up, and then shape my bars. The process takes no more than five minutes, and when I add the dates, I can also add any particular flavors I want: cinnamon, chocolate, vanilla, cherry, orange, and so on. So, so easy.

I think we can all agree that double midterm Mondays call for chocolate. So this morning, as I tried to whip up a snack that would be tasty, sweet, and energy-giving, I decided to try out my very first chocolate flavored snack bar. My verdict? Two thumbs up. This bar tastes a little bit like chocolate, a little bit like coffee (I say this because it contains raw cacao nibs, and I think they taste like coffee beans) and it’s sweet without being too sweet. Perfect for snacking as you memorize and rememorize the chain rule.

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Five Minute Raw Cacao Snack Bars (raw, vegan, gluten and soy free)

Yields 12 bars

2 cups cashews
2 cups pitted dates
1/4 cup raw cacao powder
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs


1) Place the cashews into a food processor and process till they’re well ground.

2) Add the dates and cacao powder, and process till the mixture is starting to clump into a large mass.

3) Add cacao nibs, and pulse to combine.

4) Line an 8 X 12 or 9 X 9 baking dish with tin foil. Empty the dought into the foil and press it down with your fingers so that it’s uniformly thick and even. Refrigerate for about thirty minutes or more. Cut into 10-12 bar shapes, and serve!

Great texture:

Five Minute Raw Cacao Snack Bars

The cacao nibs add a perfect amount of crunch. As you can see, some of the bars were beautifully uniform. Others were a little, um, uneven:

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I’ll learn to shape them perfectly at some point. Why don’t you give them a try, and see if you can do better than I did?

I’m excited to be back here tomorrow; I’ll be bringing you a very special guest post, which I hope will be the first in a very special series of guest posts. I have a lot to say about that—but right now, my eyelids are drooping. Bedtime for this blogger.

Before you guys tuck in tonight, take a moment to read this thoughtful and hopeful piece by John Robbins in today’s Huffington Post. A lovely balance of encouragement and tolerance, I think.


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