Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bars

I spent last weekend with DrLindsey, my primary care physician / best friend / paleo-supportive-all-around-amazing-woman-to-know. We staged a mini-college reunion with another one of our good friends from back in the day. We drank a flood of cosmos (that's proof these are friends from waaaaayyy back), got all dolled up, ate amazing food, and laughed like lunatics.

Thankfully DrLindsey's husband was available to chaperone and shepherd our drunk-asses around town. We re-payed him by pretending he wasn't there during college-level girl-talk (good thing he knows us well, or he might still be in shock...).

It had been maybe 10 months since I last visited this crew. But we didn't skip a beat. Even though my new life is 180 degrees out of phase with DrLindsey's beautiful little family, I still mesh into their world as perfectly as ever. It's gratifying to know that our deep admiration for each other isn't situationally dependent. We've known each other since before we became the people we are today. We've loved each other like sisters through all the growing up that life requires. And we're still supporting each other 100% even though we're walking different paths.

DrLindsey and her husband have my back as I try to figure out my new single-girl life. They check on me often and squash any insecurities before they have a chance to bubble all the way up to the surface. For my part, I'm sharing every ounce of the health and fitness information I've pulled together during these two-and-a-half wildly successful years. That's friendship!

After the cosmo-fueled night (that still ended early because we're old. #32!), we did a little shopping, got our eyebrows threaded (just what I needed: a new beauty obsession to add on to shellac), and had a delicious family dinner with DrLindsey's parents, aunt, uncle, and sister. Lindsey's mom, ever the impeccable hostess, went easy on the grains in support of my lifestyle and served fillet with squash and pear soup. 

That evening, we watched a little Dora, put the baby to bed, and started playing in the kitchen. DrLindsey was on the hunt for easy paleo snacks to pack for her long days at the office, so she asked if I'd work some of my SillyLittle magic in her kitchen. I love to play with recipes, so I was excited to see what I could do with the paleo-friendly ingredients she had on hand.

We created this Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bar recipe on the fly. It's basically a two-step version of my Pecan Bacon Maple Bars with a little less fuss (because DrLindsey didn't have a food processor). I think I shocked my sous chefs by how spontaneous my process is in the kitchen. Don't have a food processor? Let's use the hazelnut meal! Ran out of baking powder? Baking soda will be fine! What's the worst that can happen? It's still delicious paleo food. Just eat it and try something different next time!

Luckily these bars turned out tasty. But they still were slightly-less-than-perfect. The bar wasn't quite sweet enough to stand up to the bitterness of the chocolate. So for this post I've doubled the honey and reduced the amount of chocolate. If you're a super-duper-chocolate-lover, by all means double it back up. It's your kitchen! 

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bars

That cell phone sure takes a pretty picture!


1 egg, beaten
1 cup hazelnut meal (we used Bob's Red Mill)
3/4 cup almond meal
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
Coconut oil spray

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (we used Enjoy Life)
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Melt 1/4 cup coconut oil and honey together. In a medium bowl, mix together hazelnut meal, almond meal, baking soda, and salt. Add coconut oil-honey mixture, vanilla, and egg. Mix thoroughly to combine. Spray a loaf pan with coconut oil spray. Pour mixture into loaf pan and smooth into an even layer. Bake at 375 degrees until it passes the toothpick test. About 20 minutes. 

While the bars are baking, combine chocolate chips, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, vanilla, and pinch of salt in a small sauce pan. Place over low-to-medium heat. Stir continuously until the chocolate melts. Remove from heat and set aside.

Once the bars are baked, remove them from the oven and let cool for a few minutes so that the heat from the loaf pan doesn't burn your chocolate. Then spread the chocolate onto the bars in an even layer. Let cool to room temperature (so the chocolate firms up a bit). Cut into bars and enjoy. Makes 8 servings. 

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