There are black sesame seeds sitting in our cupboard. A whole bag of them. I bought them originally to make homemade vegemite, in our nostalgic Aussie homesickness times. The vegemite was a success, but not the real thing. We got a box from the boy’s mom a couple of weeks later with the real thing, and she saved our vegemite-pining souls. And eliminated the need for homemade vegemite for a while. She’s good to us like that.
But I still have these black sesame seeds. You know how sometimes you buy something with the intent of making one recipe and then you have a whole bunch left over? Story of my life. I’m always buying one or two special ingredients to create one new recipe that I have building up in my head and then I end up having a whole bunch left over and having to figure out what to do with it. Hence the black sesame seeds. So along the same lines, I created a recipe to use just this one ingredient . . .
And I think you’re going to love it. It has this gooey chocolate cherry top, sprinkled with crunchy nuts and cacao nibs, which is slathered on top of a soft and chewy crust studded with chia seeds and black sesame seeds. The base gets a slight sweetness from the coconut butter, while the tart cherries are complimented by the soft caramel-like dates. Should I keep going? Because it’s probably better if you just make it. For your sake. And on a side note, if you haven’t made coconut butter yet, you are totally missing out. You should get started on both of these.
I’ve been on a cherry kick lately, and these raw chocolate cherry bars are the result. I’m totally okay with it.
Ingredients (10 Bars)
For the Base
- 3/4 cup large flake oats
- 3 tbsp black sesame seeds
- 1 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 3 tbsp coconut butter
- 2 tbsp raw honey
- 6 medjool dates
For the Cherry Layer
- 1 1/2 cup dates
- 1 cup frozen cherries, divided
- 2 tbsp cacao powder
- 1 tsp maca powder
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
For the Base
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until ground up and the mixture starts to stick together. Scrape regularly while blending.
- Once everything is ground up and dates are fully incorporated into the mixture, the whole thing will look crumbly, but you should be able to press it together with your hands.
- Line a square or rectangular baking dish, pour mixture into the dish and press down flat.
- Place the base in the fridge to harden.
For the Cherry Layer
- In a food processor, add the dates, maca powder, cacao powder, ground flaxseed and half the cherries.
- Process until dates are mostly ground up – some chunky bits will remain.
- Thaw the remainder of your cherries, reserving the liquid (I put mine in the microwave for 30 seconds), and with the processor running, pour in the rest of the thawed cherries and their juice.
- Continue to process until a smooth, thick spreadable mixture forms. You can add a little bit of extra water if it doesn’t seem to be runny enough to go smooth. You want it to remain thick but easy to spread and with no large chunks of date left.
- Once smooth, remove the base from the fridge and spread the cherry mixture evenly over the top. Sprinkle with cacao nibs, hemp hearts and crushed peanuts if you prefer and then return to the fridge for 3 hours, or overnight, to harden.
- Slice into bars to serve and store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge.