“My gosh! Can I have those!?!” is what my gluten-free son said as he walked through the kitchen. Then as he walked off eating one, “Mmmm….”
The rest of us really enjoyed these nut-free energy bits, too. I’m glad I was prodded into coming up with this recipe by the theme of this month’s Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free carnival.
Shirley of Gluten Free Easily is hosting this month, and the theme she chose is “When You’re Grain Free and Feeling Like A Nut, But Can’t Eat Tree Nuts or Peanuts!” You can view the round up of wonderful recipes here.
The grain free part was easy enough for me, since I’ve been eating grain free for a number of months. But nut free? That wasn’t easy, especially when you are trying to make something that has nutty characteristics. At least I didn’t think it was at first.
My mind quickly turned to seeds, and I had some sunflower seeds that needed to be used. They would provide a nutty quality in both flavor and crunch. It turned out that the miniature chocolate chips also add a somewhat nutty crunch to these bars that I didn’t expect.
I used Enjoy Life Mini Chips (affiliate link) because they are dairy, nut, and soy free, and because the size is just right. They are sweetened with evaporated can juice. Aside from that, this recipe has no sweetener except for the naturally sweet dates. Yet they are plenty sweet to serve as dessert.
I chose to make these into small squares, but you could certainly roll them into balls also. The coconut is used only on the outside to help keep them from being so sticky when handling. I hope you enjoy them!
- Remove the pits from the dates, which should be soft and not dry.
- Process the dates in a food processor for about a minute.
- Add the sunflower seeds, ground flax seed, chia seeds, and salt. Process until well mixed.
- The mixture will look somewhat crumbly, but you should be able to press a spoonful together and it will hold. If not, the dates may be too dry. Try adding a little water.
- Add the chocolate chips and pulse a few times just to distribute them.
- Line a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with wax or parchment paper.
- Sprinkle half the coconut over the bottom of the pan.
- Put the date mixture in the pan and press it down to fill the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle the remaining coconut over top and press it into the top of the mixture, making sure all of it has been pressed firmly.
- Grab the sides of the wax paper and remove it from the pan. Place on a cutting board and cut into squares.
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