For the squares:
- 1/2 cup chopped dates, soaked in water for 15-20 minutes, drained
- 1/2 cup natural almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4 cup non-dairy milk
- 6 tablespoons cocoa or cacao powder
- 2 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup puffed quinoa
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds (raw or roasted, your choice)
- 1/4 cup sesame seeds
For the topping:
- 1/4 cup stevia-sweetened semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon cacao nibs
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1. Line a 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside. In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients and set aside. In a food processor, pulse the dates, almond butter, vanilla and stevia until fairly smooth. A few bits here and there won’t diminish the final product, though.
2. In a small saucepan, gently melt the coconut oil with the maple syrup, non-dairy milk and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine and then remove from the heat.
3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the oats, puffed quinoa, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds. Scrape the date-almond butter mixture into the chocolate mixture and stir until the almond butter melts and the mixture is pretty smooth. Now pour into the bowl with the oats and seeds. Stir well to thoroughly coat the oats/seeds with the chocolate.
4. Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth so that it reaches the sides and corners. Now, evenly sprinkle on the topping and gently pat so that the chips and seeds adhere. Place the pan in the refrigerator to firm before cutting into squares. Keep squares in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.