A girlfriend of mine, Nikki, asked me to create something sweet for a ‘New Moon Manifesting’ workshop she was hosting. Something chocolate and indulgent (and healthy) was the first thing that came to mind. And I am pretty happy with what I came up with…

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I really adore these chocolatey morsels of deliciousness. I love them so much (and have a fully stocked freezer of them) that I have been enjoying a bite with my morning coffee, or for a treat after lunch, or as a perfect way to end my day with a cup of tea. They’re healthy enough to have in the morning but indulgent enough to serve for dessert!

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Every bite bursts with flavour between the richness from cocoa, sweetness from pomegranate seeds and maple syrup, crunch from roasted nuts, savouriness from the peppercorns and salt, and chewiness & tartness from the cranberry almond crust. It’s completely satisfying!

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Although I love the combination of these flavours, feel free to get creative with different dried fruits or nuts that you have on hand. I used frozen pomegranate seeds but you can use fresh pomegranate if available. A little organization goes a long way with this recipe; I recommend having all your ingredients ready to go before you start preparing (or if you want to get fancy -‘mise en place’). Smoothing out the bottom layer evenly (step #6), requires a little bit of patience. I use my fingers/hands at first to smooth it out towards the corners of the pan and then I use a spatula to even it out. It doesn’t have to be perfect!

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Hope you enjoy these guys as much as I have!

Ciao!

Sarah

POMEGRANATE & HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE BITES

Servings:  About 25 pieces
Prep/Cook Time: 30-45 minutes

INGREDIENTS

Bottom Layer:
1 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup pitted dates
1 cup raw almonds
Pinch of sea salt

Chocolate (Top) Layer:
1/2 cup raw hazelnuts
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp almond butter
2 pinches of sea salt, divided
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (fresh or frozen)
1-2 tbsp coconut, shredded
1/2 tsp pink or regular peppercorns, crushed (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Bake hazelnuts and cashews for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 325 degrees F. This step is optional – you can use non-roasted nuts as well.
  2. Prepare 8″ x 8″ baking pan by coating the bottom with coconut oil and lining with parchment paper (coconut oil is to hold parchment paper in place). Set aside.
  3. To make bottom layer, soak dates and dried cranberries in warm water for 5 minutes.
  4. Place almonds in a food processor and blend until finely chopped (but not paste like).
  5. Add soaked dates, cranberries and a pinch of sea salt to chopped almonds and blend until mixture combines and becomes sticky.
  6. Place mixture into prepared pan using a spatula to press evenly into pan.
  7. Meanwhile, to make the chocolate layer, place the roasted hazelnuts on a clean tea towel and rub vigorously to remove most of the skins. Then roughly chop hazelnuts and cashews.
  8. Melt the coconut oil in a pot over medium-low heat.
  9. Once the coconut oil is melted, remove pot from heat and stir in cocoa powder, maple syrup, almond butter, a pinch of sea salt, and half of the nuts.
  10. Pour chocolate mixture into pan over bottom layer.
  11. Add remainder of the nuts, pomegranate seeds, shredded coconut, peppercorns, and another pinch of sea salt, by sprinkling evenly on top.
  12. Place pan in freezer for at least 20 minutes.
  13. To remove from the pan, run a small knife along the edges of the pan (careful not to cut the parchment paper), place the bottom of the pan in a sink filled with an inch or two of hot water for 30 seconds. Invert the pan onto a cooking sheet and encourage it to release by tugging on the parchment paper. Place a cutting board  on top and flip so the chocolate side is facing up.
  14. Cut and enjoy!

NOTES

Store in freezer or refrigerator until ready to serve; softens at room temperature.
If using frozen pomegranate seeds, place seeds on paper towel for about 10 minutes to defrost.