NUT BARS

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My sister in law made these for a family picnic last weekend and Hugh hasn't stopped talking about them. You know how Lara bars taste reminiscent of real food but they are just too sweet? Personal opinion. Too many dates! Dates are cheaper than nuts per volume, it's business, I digress. For maximum snack staying power we want fat and protein, less sugar, so these are basically a mash of nuts, coconut, coconut oil, and the teensiest bit of maple to gild the lily. Yes, these are super high fat but it's good fat and we got mixed messages about all that too many years ago. Especially if you're active or nursing or in school or diabetic or vegetarian or alive! You need good fats! Speaking of health, the chocolate here is very optional, but I was aiming to make them more attractive for a photo and use them as currency to get my children to eat vegetables. I know you're not supposed to do that, negotiate with toddlers, but I can't help myself sometimes. It seems the only way some nights. ANYWAY. So easy. Two dirty dishes and at least a few days of on-the-go snacks covered. 

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NUT BARS // Makes 12
Adapted from Kitchen Stewardship

The coconut oil here acts as glue for the whole situation, therefore, they hold together better when refrigerated, to remain in a more solid, bar-like state. They are fine at room temperature, but note they will be more delicate and not travel as well. 

2 cups raw almonds (or other crunchy nuts)
1/3 cup flaxmeal
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup almond butter
1/2 cup coconut oil, warmed if it's rock solid
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 Tbsp. maple syrup

chocolate drizzle, optional
(melt between 2-3.5oz. (to taste) of dark chocolate, drizzle over the top of the bars. Refrigerate until it hardens. Cut the cold bars into squares) 

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Into a food processor, add the almonds and flaxmeal. Pulse a few times to chop the almonds well, Add the coconut, almond butter, coconut oil, vanilla, sea salt, cinnamon and maple and pulse until the mixture forms a coarse paste. If the mixture looks to dry (it should look, add another spoonful of coconut oil and/or maple. 
Transfer the mixture to an 8x8 baking dish (lining it with parchment paper will make it easier to pull the whole square out and cut them for portability, but this is not crucial) and press the mixture down into an even layer with a large spoon. If you are doing the chocolate drizzle (note above) you can do that now, and then chill the entire situation. Refrigerate them to solidify (about 1 hour). 
Cut the bars with a clean, sharp, knife, and store covered in the fridge. 

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