Line a 20 cm (8 inch) square dish with cling wrap, leaving some over the sides to make it easier to remove the bars. Add 1 teaspoon of cacao powder to the dish.
Wash the dates, dry them, and remove the pits.
Add the dates to the bowl of a food processor and roughly chop them.
Add the cashews, cacao powder, chia seeds, orange juice and zest and blend until the ingredients are combined to your preference, either smooth or slightly chunky.
Take a small amount of mixture between your fingers and check that the mixture is sufficiently moist to be able to compress into bars. If not, add a small amount of orange juice and blend again.
Add the date mixture to the dish and, using the back of a spoon or a spatula, firmly flatten and smooth the mixture. Sprinkle the top with the remaining teaspoon of cacao.
Cover and refrigerate for about 1 hour for the mixture to firm.
Cut into bars, the size of your choice. I made 15, approximately 6.5 cm x 4 cm (2 ½ x 1 ½ inches).Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Medjool dates are fresh dates available from greengrocers or the fruit and vegetable section of the supermarket. For accuracy, weigh the dates. (with the stones in.) If measuring by volume, the dates are firmly packed in the cup. The number will vary depending on the size of the date.
Cacao powder – pronounced “ka-cow”, is made from minimally processed cocoa beans and maintains the nutritional benefits of the bean. It is, in essence, chocolate in its purest form.
In Australia, the tablespoon is 20 ml or 4 teaspoons. In many other countries, the tablespoon is 15 ml or 3 teaspoons. You may need to adjust your quantities accordingly.
Please note, the nutritional information is based on the slice being cut into 15 pieces. The nutritional information is for one piece and is an estimate only.