If I could only choose one nut to eat, it would be – sorry, walnuts – pecans. But, wait! – – walnuts are pretty darn good, too, and I wouldn’t want to have to live without them. Walnuts work beautifully in savory recipes (as in my Corn & Black Bean Chips or Black Bean, Corn, & Walnut Burgers); breads (like Carrot Walnut Bread); and of course, in desserts (like Chocolate Sweet Potato Spice Cake or Double Chocolate Everything Cookies). Oh, and in the recipe below!
Since it’s not pecan’s day in the spotlight, let’s take a few moments to celebrate the mighty walnut!
- a 1/4 cup provides 100% of the daily recommended intake of omega-3 fatty acids
- slow cancer tumor growth and reduce risk of getting prostate cancer – and possibly breast cancer
- eat some to keep you satiated when trying to lose weight
- satisfy your sweet tooth without sending your blood sugar level skyrocketing
- one date gives provides 6% of daily recommended fiber intake
- are a good source of iron and potassium as well as copper, manganese, and magnesium
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup maple sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 2 Tbsp. flaxseed meal mixed with 6 Tbsp. water
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- pinch fine sea salt
- 1 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped, divided
- 1/2 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup chopped dates soaked in 1 cup water for about 20 minutes (do not discard the water)
- 1/2 cup toasted unsweetened coconut flakes (small variety)
- 1/2 cup toasted, chopped walnuts (see above)
- 1 tsp. arrowroot powder
- Preheat the oven to 375-degrees and line a 9-inch x 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper.
- Prepare the topping first. In the bowl of a food processor, process the dates with the soaking water until broken down into small pieces. Add the arrowroot powder and pulse several times to incorporate. Scrape the dates into a small bowl and stir in the toasted coconut flakes and a 1/2 cup of the toasted walnuts. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the coconut oil, maple sugar, applesauce, flaxseed meal mixture, and vanilla extract and process until thoroughly mixed.
- Carefully add the flour and sea salt and mix - starting on a slow speed - until a sticky dough is formed. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of walnuts and all of the chocolate chips and pulse a few times. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan and pat down until evenly distributed.
- Pour the date mixture on top of the dough and press it into the dough here and there. If you like, sprinkle a few additional chocolate chips on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until firm in the center. The edges will brown and crisp a bit.
- Let bars cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove (lifting with the parchment paper) and set on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before cutting into 16 squares.