Cacao Nib + Almond Butter Bars
While racing Absa Cape Epic - a grueling 8-day mountain bike stage race in South Africa - our resident Chef Lentine Alexis was determined to fuel her race with real food (instead of packaged bars.) But, without an oven or kitchen in their tented African camp, this was tricky. So, she popped a little food processor into her duffel bag along with a handful of little plastic ziploc bags and a few ingredients that didn't need refrigeration. What she came up with are these satisfying almond butter bars that are ready to withstand the biggest challenges on the bike (or in the woods, or in your lunchbox, or in YOUR campsite!) in the most harsh/delicious/fun conditions you can imagine.
CACAO NIB + ALMOND BUTTER BARS
1 cup almonds
1 cup pitted dates
heaping 1/2 cup almond butter
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1/2 cup finely ground flaxseed
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, pulse the nuts to a coarse meal. Add the optional cinnamon, dates and almond butter. Pulse the mixture until just combined – you don’t want to puree all of those great chunks of stuff completely!
To make bites: With a small portioner (or a tablespoon, or your hands,) scoop out the almond dough and roll into little balls, pressing the top of each with a fork to flatten and create little hash marks on top. Sprinkle the ground flax seed over a plate or the bottom of a storage container and tap each bite in flax seed (this keeps them from sticking together!)
To make bars: sprinkle the bottom of an 8x8 inch baking pan with finely ground flaxseed. Press the almond butter mixture into one side of the pan, to make a half-pan of bars about 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle a very small amount of flax seed over the top of the almond butter mixture. Then slice into bars or wrap individually in plastic or plastic bags. (Being smooshed in the plastic bag actually helps them stick together!) Store out of the direct sunlight. At home, store in a parchment lined container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Eat frequently!