I often joke that if I were to start over from scratch, a more appropriate title for this blog would be "cake for breakfast," since that's been an all too frequent side effect of the constant stream of sweets parading through my kitchen. Because I take my blog photos in the morning, I inevitably end up eating a breakfast-time bite (or four) of whatever it is I'm baking, which means I've often had more sugar before seven than most people do all day. (Other true to life titles could include "chocolate covered computer screen" and "caramel coated clothing." Baking can be messy.) This week however, the sweets for breakfast are no problem, since I've been cooking from Gwyneth Paltrow's heath focused new book, It's All Good.
It's no secret that I have an out of control sweet tooth, a hidden healthy streak, and a fondness that boarders on the fanatical for all things Gwyneth. So it should come as no surprise that I snagged a copy of her new book on healthy cooking as soon as it hit store shelves. . . and flipped right to the dessert section. These "candy bars" are made with wholesome ingredients like raw nuts, coconut flour and dates, and are topped with a generous coating of melted dark chocolate. While I don't think they'll replace my usual rotation of butter and sugar-laden sweets, they do make for a great afternoon snack or a healthy weeknight treat. Leave it to Gwyneth to make dessert for breakfast okay. Now if she could just find a way to keep the chocolate splatters away from my computer screen, we'd really be all good.
These "candy bars" are almost like an especially delicious Larabar coated in melted chocolate. If you want to eat them as a healthier afternoon snack, I think they'd also be delicious without the topping, or with just a few dark chocolate chips stirred into the batter.
Adapted from Gwyneth Paltrow's It's All Good
1 1/2 cups raw nuts (Gwyneth uses cashews, I used a mix of cashews, pecans and almonds)
1 1/2 cups pitted dates, roughly chopped
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
Maldon or another flaky sea salt, for sprinkling
Process the nuts in a food processor until they are finely ground. Add the dates, almond butter, maple syrup, coconut, coconut flour and almond extract and pulse until a sticky dough forms. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and press the dough into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours or overnight. Once your dough has chilled, melt the chocolate and coconut oil over a double boiler or in the microwave. Pour the chocolate over the dough, and use an offset spatula to spread it evenly over the top. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, and chill until set, about one hour. Cut into squares and enjoy.