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When Justin’s (the nut butter company) emailed us about sending over some samples, we envisioned a mid-morning project with the office kiddos, lazily moving around in the haze of summer and excited to get out into the woods behind Dirt Rag Headquarters. It would be so fun, so nutritious, a learning and bonding opportunity for everyone! We would take these snacks out to the trail, ride for a while our favorite singletrack, then stop in a shaded clearing, maybe near the dog park to watch the Weimaraners and Boxers, the Boston Terriers and Toy Poodles, as we ate our treats and headed back into the woods, recharged with healthy fats.
But what actually happened is that we had a magazine to run and kids had their own friends to hang out with and suddenly summer was over and we never had office fun time with snacks. I’m basically just an overgrown kid, though, so I made the snacks myself and brought them in to share. The original idea was to make cashew butter cups, but it was too hot in my house and the nut butter and chocolate ran together, so I made nut bars instead. I also snacked too hard on the cashew butter (it really is good) while waiting to see if we could make the summer magic happen, so it’s a mixture of peanut butter and Justin’s maple cashew butter which actually turned out to be a really lovely combo with the crunch and added salt. These low-sugar snacks are high in fat and protein, low on the glycemic index, low carb, and vegan. Maybe they’re keto? All I know for sure is that they were eaten right up and will definitely be a snack to make again. This recipe is no-bake, easy and tasty for kids (if they weren’t too cool to hang out with me), and will store well in a refrigerator. To take on a ride, wrap them individually for a quick energy boost.
For the base:
- 2 cups nut butter (I used 1 cup Justin’s Maple Cashew butter and 1 cup salted crunchy peanut butter)
- about 2/3 cup flax meal or until it seems to firm up the nut butter
- about 1/4 cup maple syrup or another liquid sweetener (because I was using a maple nut butter, I went easy on sweetener, and found this made for a really pleasant, not overly sweet treat)
- 2 Tbs chia seeds
- 1 Tbs poppy seeds
For the topping (this gives like a 50/50 ratio of peanut butter to chocolate and is fitting for making nut butter cups if you don’t live in the devil’s armpit that is late summer Pittsburgh, or if you love chocolate; otherwise, it would be safe to half this recipe):
- 1 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1 cup pure cocoa
- about 2 Tbs to 1/4 cup maple syrup, to taste (I like super dark, bitter chocolate, so I didn’t add much at all)
Mix all of the base ingredients together and let sit while you line an 8×8 dish with parchment paper. Pour mixture into the pan and shove in the freezer. In a small saucepan, melt the coconut oil and add the other ingredients to taste. Let it cool for a moment. Pull nut butter from freezer and pour chocolate over the nut spread. Put it back in the freezer for another 20 minutes or so, until hardened but still malleable. Cut the bars into whatever size you’d like but I thought 5×5 incisions worked out well. You can store these as they are, wrap them in little parchments like taffy, or just eat the whole dang thing while talking about ideas for next year’s adventures. We chose to just eat the whole dang thing at once, but maybe you have some self-control (you robot).
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Author: Carolyne Whelan