Well Dined

25Jul/161

Cacao, Date, and Nut Granola Bars

Well Dined | Cacao, Date, and Nut Granola Bars

I was approached by a representative of Nuts.com to enter their healthy summer snack contest! Woo! People are finding my blog and I get an excuse to play with cool ingredients and make a healthy snack.

I knew I wanted to do some kind of bar, but I am not enough of a baker to create a recipe on my own, so I turned to the best baker I know - Melissa from Smells like Brownies.  Together, we came up with a granola bar recipe that included cacao butter, cacao nibs, dates, hazelnuts, unsweetened coconut, almond flour, chia seeds, and oats.  Sweetened only with honey, these bars are a powerhouse of energy (they also have great texture and flavor).

Well Dined | Cacao, Date, and Nut Granola Bars

To get the most flavor, roast the hazelnuts at 350 for 15-20 minutes, shaking the pan at 10 and 15 minutes to ensure that they roast evenly.  You can then rub most of the skins off with a towel.  If you really want to get rid of all of the skins, you will have to blanch them and the skins before roasting.

You will need a food processor for this recipe, but it comes together very easily.  Then you just press into a pan and bake.  The bars are a little crumbly, so if you aren't a fan of that - try soaking the chia seeds in a bit of water before adding them.

Well Dined | Cacao, Date, and Nut Granola Bars

The real MVP of this recipe is the cacao butter.  My goodness, does it smell and taste delicious.  It's like vegetable oil (or more like coconut oil in terms of healthiness and uses) that tastes like chocolate - I might be a little obsessed now.  You can wrap these individually to travel or to freeze.  You can also sub in whatever nuts you like, add more dried fruit - whatever you want!

Oh, yeah - if you make sure to use GF oats, this is totally Gluten Free!  And if you replace the honey with something like maple syrup, it's also vegan!  Enjoy!

3Aug/152

Launch Pad Culinary Entrepreneur Competition

Last month, I wrote about a competition that I was invited to attend as a media person, and the breakfast meet and greet that went with it.  Well, the finale event of the competition was 3 weeks ago, and it was wonderful!  I apologize for the delay in writing about it, but 2 days after the event I flew to Texas to keep my mother company while she recovered from surgery, and I just got back!  So let's talk about this thing!

Well Dined | Launch Pad Finale

As I mentioned before, Launch Pad is a competition sponsored by Mess Hall, Ris, and Union Market to give culinary entrepreneurs a jump start.  The winner of the competition would take over the Ris stall in Union Market for 6 months.

Well Dined | Launch Pad Finale

I had never been to Union Market before this, so I got there early in order to wander around.  This place is so cool!  They were having a farmers market outside, with live music, and inside is a series of stalls with all kinds of food.  What a foodie dream!

Well Dined | Launch Pad Finale

I really wish that I lived closer to this market, because it is really cool.  I hope that you DC dwellers are appreciating this!

Well Dined | Launch Pad Finale

The Launch Pad event took place in Dock5 - the event space at Union Market.  It really is a big industrial loading dock that you can set up any way that you like for your event.