(Family Features) With family gatherings and New Year’s resolutions, this is the time of year where the holiday and wellness seasons find themselves on a collision course. The key to fully enjoying both seasons is finding treats that balance great taste with nutritional value.
Hazelnuts, which are widely known as the culprit behind the irresistible flavor of chocolate hazelnut spreads, are one way to consciously enjoy the season. Rich in vitamins and dietary fiber, and naturally cholesterol and gluten free, hazelnuts can amplify a variety of foods and flavors for an indulgence-meets-nutritious experience.
The finest hazelnuts are grown in the lush fields along the Black Sea coast of Turkey, where the optimal climate of the region produces hazelnuts that have a creamy, buttery flavor and crunchy texture.
Turkish hazelnuts add extra vitamins and fiber to recipes, creating a nutritious but indulgent snack, such as this recipe for hazelnut chocolate energy bars. Dates, oats and chocolate chips are bound with hazelnut butter for an on-the-go boost perfect for breakfast time, or any time.
Find more hazelnut inspiration at hazelnutsfromturkey.com.
HAZELNUT CHOCOLATE ENERGY BARS
1 cup dates
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup hazelnut butter
1/4 cup honey
1 cup hazelnuts, toasted
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Place dates in food processor and mix until small bits remain and form ball. Add cocoa powder and salt and process.
Heat hazelnut butter and honey until warm. Pour into food processor along with remaining ingredients. Pulse until well mixed.
Transfer to lightly greased and foil-lined 9-by-9-inch pan. Using spatula, pack mixture into tight square. Freeze to set for 15 minutes. Remove and cut into 15 bars. Store in airtight container or bag in fridge to keep fresh, or in freezer for longer term storage.