Sea Salt & Dark Chocolate Goji Berry Bites

Folks, it's been a while. My two-(err three?)-month hiatus from the blog has been in part due to a rather major change in my life: On Jan. 19, 2015, I had my second-ever first day of work. Getting to that point, though, took a great deal of time and energy. The job search being kick-started by the threat of looming unemployment made the process just that much more emotionally exhausting. I had to recharge my batteries and focus on the basics for a while there.
I didn't come here to talk about life's trials and tribulations, though. I came to talk about delicious, wholesome treats! These babies are dipped in mood-lifting, antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and filled with protein, fiber and healthy fats. Slightly bigger than a cookie, they are the perfect size to satisfy a grumbling tummy and sweet tooth between meals. I'm really enjoying having them after my smoothie in the mornings with a cup of coffee or tea.
The whole idea for these came from a delicious energy bar I discovered when I was in the States visiting family over Christmas. They were made almost entirely of almonds, dark chocolate and sea salt. I bought a 30-pack to take back with me. Needless to say my supply is dwindling and I had to find a replacement STAT.
After playing around in the kitchen, I came up with these beauties. Besides being delicious, they also do a few other fantastic things for you. They...
  • Improve digestion and lower cholesterol: The fiber from the wheat bran, oats and nuts slow down digestion and act like scrubbing bubbles for your insides. Soluble fiber binds to the bile acid your body produces to aid digestion. To make more bile acid, the body pull cholesterol from the blood stream. 
  • Kill hunger pangs & sugar cravings: Aside from just staying in your tummy longer, fiber also helps regulate the release of sugar into the blood stream. No blood sugar peaks and crashes followed by intense sugar cravings. The same goes for protein and fat. They take a while to digest, which means that 15 minutes later you will not be wanting to eat everything in sight.
  • Load you up with antioxidants: So goji berries, dark chocolate and nuts are high in this fantastic thing called antioxidants. Antioxidants do exactly what their name says: prevent oxidation aka damage. The various antioxidants prevent free radicals in the body from causing cell damage, which can result in cell aging, inflammation, cancer and a long list of other diseases.
  • Relieve stress: I don't think this comes as a surprise to chocolate-lovers, but dark chocolate is a proven stress reliever. Consuming dark chocolate can lower levels of two stress hormones, cortisol (also responsible for fat storage) and epinephrine.
  • Contain more than 20 key trace minerals: Gogi berries are considered a superfood for a reason. They contain a long list of important minerals, including iron, zinc, cooper, selenium and calcium. 
  • Feed your brain: Walnuts not only look like mini brains, they are brain food. They are filled with omega-three fatty acids that our bodies cannot produce and NEED to help maintain brain and nerve function.

Sea Salt & Dark Chococlate Goji Berry Bites

Makes 30 
Prep time: 15 min.
Baking time: 20-30 mins.

1 1/2 cups steel-cut oats
1 cup puffed amaranth 
1 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup coconut fine shavings
1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds 
1 cup dried goji berries
1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
1 banana, mashed
3/4 unsweetened applesauce 
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. sea salt (plus extra to sprinkle on top)
1/4 cup peanut butter
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
100 grams extra dark chocolate (70% cocoa and up!)

1. Preheat oven to 350F (175C). In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingridents except the salt.

2. In another bowl, mix together the mashed banana, applesauce, vanilla, eggs, sea salt, peanut butter, coconut oil, and honey.

3. Pour wet mixture over dry ingredients and mix until evenly coated. Mixture should be moist.

4. If using a metal muffin tin, slightly grease the pan with coconut oil before filling them. Skip this step if using a silicon pan. Then fill each cup about halfway full, making sure to pack the mixture down firmly.

5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges brown slightly. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before popping them out of pan. It they are stubborn, use a knife to carefully go around the edges.

6. Once the "bites" have cooled, carefully melt chocolate either in the microwave or using a double boiler (click here for how-to video on both techniques).

7. Dip bites into chocolate or drizzle chocolate over them. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and then place onto a pan covered in parchment paper. Allow to cool until the chocolate hardens again.

1 comment:

  1. What a great combination with the walnuts, goji and chocolate - just printed this out and can't wait to try it! xx Laura