In my quest to cycle between Ottawa and Cornwall, I have been investigating portable snacks to bring with my on my rides. I made Almond Chocolate Larabars earlier in the season and liked the combination of dates, almonds and chocolate. The bars were a bit crumbly but otherwise a hit.
Then I spotted Cocoa Nibbles, posted by Ashley at Eat Me, Delicious, who found them through Ricki at Diet, Dessert and Dogs. They looked right up my alley with simple, healthy ingredients, akin to other Larabar recipes. Dried dates, almonds, cocoa powder, vanilla and mint are combined to create a fudgy-, datey- cocoa mint nibble. None of the flavours are overpowering and the dates provide a great dose of carbohydrates during a training session. They had good shape, even outside the fridge for many hours. Straight from the fridge, they have a darker fudge texture. The date flavour is more pronounced when eaten at room temperature. I also liked that I made around 16 “nibbles” from the entire batch (50 calories, 9g carb, 1.6g fat, 111 mg potassium per nibble). I wrapped each one up as a portable snack and they were there perfect size to eat during a long cycle. I can’t wait to try the flavour variations suggested by Ricki for my upcoming bicycle rides.
This is my submission to Blog Bites #6 hosted by One Hot Stove.
Cocoa Mint Nibbles
1/2 cup raw almonds
1-1/4 cups unsweetened dried dates, chopped
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
6 leaves mint, chopped
Other optional add-ins (choose one of the following, replacing the mint): 1/4-1/2 tsp chili flakes; 1 tbsp raw cocoa nibs; 2 tsp freshly grated orange rind; 1/2 tsp cinnamon, or play with other spices of your choice
1. In a food processor, process the almonds, dates, and cocoa until you have what looks like a fine meal. Sprinkle with vanilla and optional add-ins, if using, and continue to process until the mixture comes together as a ball that rolls around the edge of the processor bowl (this may take a while–up to 5 minutes or so; occasionally stop and scrape sides of processor to push the mixture toward the blades).
2. The “dough” is ready when, if you pinch some and press it between your fingers, it sticks together readily and looks a bit shiny. (Sometimes if the dates are dry, this doesn’t happen easily; in that case, sprinkle in up to 2 tsp. water along with the vanilla, and proceed as above). The mixture should NOT be as soft as a cookie dough, but more like clay.
3. Place a clean piece of plastic wrap on the counter and turn the mixture onto it. Using your hands, form the mixture into a log about 8 inches (20 cm.) long. Try to compress the mixture as much as possible so you have a very dense log. Wrap with the plastic and roll the log one or two times, compressing it with your hands, to squeeze out any air spaces.
4. If you have a pressing need for chocolate, you can slice and eat the nibbles immediately. However, these are much better after the mixture has been refrigerated at least 2 hours or overnight, as it firms up considerably and will attain the texture of a dense fudge when cold. Will keep up to one week in the fridge.
Makes 16 nibbles.