If your dates are at all dry, place them in a small bowl and cover with hot water. Let sit 5 minutes, then drain. Place the dates in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.
Add the oats and pulse until the oats are broken down and the mixture forms a sticky ball that sticks to the sides of the bowl. Add the almond flour, peanut butter, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt and pulse until the mixture forms a smooth paste, stopping to scrape the bowl and break up the ingredients as needed. If the mixture seems very dry (this may happen depending upon the moisture content in your dates and nut butter), add water 1 teaspoon at a time, until the dough just sticks together when you press it with your fingers. Transfer the mixture to a medium mixing bowl and stir in the mini chocolate chips.
Line an 8x4-inch loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving some of the paper hanging out on two sides like handles. Scoop the dough into the pan and press it into an even layer, pressing it all the way into the corners. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes, until set.
For the chocolate topping: In a microwave-safe bowl or a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, gently melt the chocolate. If microwaving, check and stir it every 15 seconds to prevent burning. When the chocolate is almost but not yet completely melted, remove from heat and stir in the coconut oil until completely melted and smooth. Spread the melted chocolate over the cooled bars, then return them to the freezer for 10 to 20 additional minutes to set completely. Remove from the pan using the parchment overhang, slice, and enjoy.
Store leftover bars in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 weeks or freeze for up to 2 months.
I haven’t tried subbing additional oats for the almond flour, but I think this could work.
Additions: If you like, you can add a tablespoon or two of additional healthy mix-ins, such as flaxseed meal, hemp seeds, or chia seeds. This may alter the consistency of the bars, so if they seem to dry, add 1 teaspoon of water at a time until the mixture holds together.
Serving: 1(of 10), including the chocolate toppingCalories: 200kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 4gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gFiber: 2gSugar: 15g
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