Cocoa Monkey Granola Bars

Posted by in Breakfast, Gluten-Free, Lovely as Leftovers, Vegan

This recipe reminds me of my silly riotous stupid adorable puppy. My parents have claimed that since they “raised” him while I was off at school and traveling and figuring out my life, that he is now theirs. I say the paperwork states otherwise.

His name is Monkey, he’s a puggle and he’ll turn 5 years old on November 20th. He was a cyclone of teeth and tail and anxiety for the first 8 months that we had him but since he hit one years old, he’s been the sweetest, most loving and fun dog that ever lived. He speaks English and has googly expressive eyes that are almost a little bit too loving (for my mom, not my dad – he digs Monkey’s longing gazes). But he’s mine and I want him back.

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When pondering the ingredients for these breakfast bars, I couldn’t help but imagine that if my little pup were here with me in LA,  he would be delighted by the bits of granola bar that spun out of the mixing bowl and onto the floor. He’d do his sweeping duties with a proud little lick of his chops and give me a claws-up of encouragement. He truly is my most enthusiastic taste-tester.

So my thoughts are, if my health food- loving dog with a fairly distinguished palate loves these bars, then you will too. They’re a truly positive way to start your day with chocolate without all of the refined sugars and processed ingredient sadness. With plenty of fiber from the oats, cacao nibs, and bananas and healthy fats of the coconut, flax, and nut butters, you’ll be satiated and ready for that glorious day out there.

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Cocoa Monkey Granola Bars

  • 2 c old fashioned oats
  • 1/3 c cocoa powder
  • 1/2 c shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 c ground flax seed
  • 1/2 c cacao nibs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 c cashew butter (1 c raw cashews blended with 1/8 c coconut oil blended until smooth in a good processor)
  • 1 c almond butter
  • 1/8 honey or maple syrup
  • 10 dates, pitted and blended with 1/8 c coconut oil in a food processor
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed

Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8×8 pan with foil and spray with coconut oil, set aside. In a large bowl whisk together oats, cocoa powder, coconut, flax seed, cacao nibs, salt. Add the cashew and almond butters, honey or maple syrup, dates, and bananas and thoroughly mix into dry ingredients with your hands or a fork. The mixture should begin to hold together at this point. Press mixture evenly into prepared pan and pack down into the corners using your hands or the flat side of a spatula. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes. Pull foil from pan and cut bars with a very sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.