I’ve heard that chocolate has an addictive quality – in fact my mom gave it up for lent and instead of hand-over-fisting it on Easter, she found a small piece was enough. I am currently in the throws of a rather manic period of chocolate eating. I figured instead of quitting, I’d just come up with a healthy chocolate-ish alternative.
More dates and more food processing! Discovering that cocoa powder is not only full of antioxidants but low in calories was exciting for me – now I’m quick to throw it into smoothies and yogurt. In this case it yields a great chocolate flavor without the extra heft of fat and calories. The protein powder, if you have it on hand, isn’t a noticeable flavor but ups the protein factor, which keeps you full longer. The coconut on top looks like powdered sugar so you might be able to trick your kids, but this is a snack I intend to hoard. It’s not too sweet (which is why I stayed away from “brownie” in the title), but here’s hoping I’ll reach for this after a meal instead of the handful of Ghirardelli chips that has lately been my go-to.
Healthy Dark Chocolate Coconut Squares
Makes an 8×8 pan – about 36 squares
2 c. pitted dates
3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 c. semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 c. unsweetened coconut flakes, divided
2 scoops chocolate protein powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. coconut oil
3 tbsp. water
1. Place dates, cocoa, chocolate chips, 3/4 c. of the coconut, protein powder and the salt in the food processor. Pulse and then process until finely ground.
2. Add vanilla, coconut oil and water and process until mixture forms a ball.
3. Line an 8×8 baking dish with waxed paper, foil or parchment and press mixture evenly into hands (easiest with wet hands).
4. Sprinkle remaining coconut on top and press in lightly with hands. Cover and refrigerate, at least 30 minutes.
5. Cut into squares and store in the fridge or freezer (from the freezer they have a wonderfully chewy quality – that’s where I keep mine).