These dark chocolate matcha bars are the candy bar green tea lovers have been waiting for. They're super rich, lightly sweetened, and pack a wonderful green tea kick. Plus, they're paleo-friendly, vegan, and gluten free, yet still crazy indulgent and delicious.
S likes matcha, and after having an iced match latte at an Irish-Thai fusion spot last week (no joke, Irish and Thai in one place), he really wanted to get a bag of matcha and make his own. But S also loves a deal, so after pricing out little boxes containing an ounce or two of matcha, he instead bought a whole pound, because it was more economical.
I'm not a huge fan of matcha or green tea, I actually sent S back to the deli to exchange flavors when he brought home green tea Haagen-Dazs recently, but I will admit these bars are lovely. The green tea note isn't exactly subtle, but when blended with rich dark cocoa powder and dates, it's hard not to love. I could really go for one right now actually, as S and I are currently trying our very first juice cleanse.
In the spirit of full disclosure, I will tell you that this is not only my first juice cleanse. This is the first time I've come even remotely close to anything resembling a diet. Or even anything resembling meal planning, or keeping track of my eating.
Don't get me wrong, I try to ensure that all of our meals involve a minimum of two different colors of vegetable, and about a year ago I started trying to increase the amount of salads and reduce the amount of carbs in our overall diet, but I've never tried a diet with a name, or a cleanse, or a fast, or even calorie counting or cutting out dessert (lord help me).
On Sunday I woke up wanting to try a juice cleanse. I've read about them, known several friends who tried them and spoke highly of the experience, and I drink vegetable and fruit juice on the regular, plus I have a wonderful Dash brand slow juicer, so I figured why not. I assumed S would not be interested in coming on this little juice-venture with me, but surprisingly when he woke up and I pitched the idea, he said he was in right away.
I also made these bars on Sunday, but rather than feel pressured to eat them all in 36 hours before beginning the cleanse, I wrapped the remaining bars in parchment paper and popped them in the fridge, where I'm confident they'll be just fine until Friday. What a reward for making it through the cleanse they'll be!
I am pretty sure you could feed these to someone who had never eaten a date bar before and they would have no idea they had fruit in them at all. The dates just become a soft caramel-y sweetness, while the chocolate and matcha tastes take center stage. The almonds provide crunch, but not a ton of flavor, they're mainly a texture additive.
These make great candy or energy bar replacements, and are great as a dessert after dinner, or thrown in a lunchbox. While you should keep them in the fridge to keep them firm, as long as you don't leave them in a 90 degree car, they should be fine to travel with. They make a great afternoon snack in the office or studio!
Matcha Dark Chocolate Bars
Makes approximately 12 bars or 24 squares
9 oz pitted dates (about 1 2/3 C)
1/3 Cup cocoa powder
4 oz Almonds (about 2/3 C)
2 Tbsp matcha powder
2 Tbsp coconut butter
1/3 C coconut flakes
2 Tbsp maple
First, if using whole almonds, chop or pulse in food processor until they're just little bits and pieces. Alternatively, use slivered almonds if you like.
Combine all ingredients in food processor and blitz until completely combined. Your dough may form a ball, or it may form several clumps, depending on your food processor. Once all the ingredients are totally worked into one another (about 2 minutes), turn off food processor.
Dump the contents of your food processor onto a piece of parchment paper and form into a lump. Using hands press the dough into a rectangle about 1 inch thick.
Wrap in saran or parchment paper and chill on a flat surface in your refrigerator at least 2 hours before cutting.
Cut into desired size of bars (or use a cookie cutter for fun shapes!). Lightly dust with a bit more matcha powder. To store, place parchment paper between bars to keep from sticking and keep in the fridge.