Chocolate Hemp Amaze Bars
Thank you to Sprouts Farmers Market for sponsoring this post
I knew to expect a package of hemp seeds in the mail. My contact at Sprouts Farmers Market told me it was on its way, part of a collaboration on superfoods for the month of October. I imagined an eight-ounce bag being slipped through my mail slot in a padded envelope, so was surprised when UPS rang the bell holding a five pound box of Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts.
Five pounds is a lot of hemp. I figured it must be a mistake.
“What am I going to do with five pounds of hemp?” I asked my friends at Sprouts. “Use it however you like.” was the response.
Small But Mighty
And so I have. Turns out hemp hearts (hulled hemp seeds) have a lot of offer, despite their tiny size. They have a mild nutty flavor, a tender texture, and enormous versatility. I’ve worked them into pesto, blended them into smoothies, sprinkled them over salads and grains, used them to top yogurt, and worked them into what I’m calling Chocolate Hemp Amaze Bars.
Packed with Superfoods
I call them Amaze Bars because they’re full of amazingly good-for-you ingredients, notably, hemp hearts. Hemp hearts have about double the protein of chia and flax seeds, are a source of healthy fats (including Omega-3s ), and deliver a meaningful dose of fiber, potassium, iron, and vitamin A.
The bars are chock full of other excellent ingredients, too — oats, pepitas, and nuts — all of which I pulled from the bulk bins at Sprouts. Working chocolate into the bars in three different forms — cocoa powder, cocoa nibs, and dark chocolate — adds a boost of antioxidants and makes them taste, well, sort of amazing.
I’ve made the bars four times now, which has put a meaningful dent in all those hemp hearts. If you’ve never tried hemp hearts before, these bars are an excellent reason to seek some out. Alternatively, you could just stop by my house to raid my stash. I have plenty to go around.
Chocolate Hemp Seed Amaze Bars
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup chopped raw hazelnuts or almonds (not roasted)
- ½ cup raw hemp hearts
- ⅓ cup raw pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
- 6 medjool dates, pitted
- ⅓ cup cashew butter, peanut butter, or almond butter
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup cacao nibs (see note)
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 heaping tablespoon hemp seeds and ¼ cup dark chocolate chips for topping the bars
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with a piece of parchment paper long enough so it drapes over 2 sides.
Spread the oats, hazelnuts, hemp hearts, and pepitas on a large baking sheet and cook until the oats are fragrant and the nuts and seeds lightly toasted, 8 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the dates, cashew butter, honey, and water into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Run until blended, stopping and scraping down the sides as needed.
Transfer the toasted oats and seeds to a large bowl. Add the cocoa nibs, cocoa powder, and salt and stir well. Add the date mixture and stir until evenly mixed. Transfer to the prepared pan and use your hands to press the dough very firmly into the bottom, creating an even layer that fills the entire pan.
Scatter 1 tablespoon hemp hearts over the bars. Put the chocolate chips into a small bowl and microwave on high in 30-second bursts, stirring after each one, until smooth, about 1 ½ minutes. Drizzle the chocolate over the top of the bars. Freeze for 30 minutes.
Remove the pan from the freezer, run a knife around the edge and use the two draping sides of parchment to lift it from the pan. Cut into 12 bars or 16 bars, as desired. Store in a resealable bag or air-tight container and store in the fridge, where they will keep for several weeks.
Note: Cacao nibs are crushed cacao beans (or cocoa beans). If you don’t have cacao nibs, you can leave them out.