Ingredients: (Makes 24 bars)
- 1 cup toasted walnuts (see note
- ¾ cup golden raisins
- ¾ cup sugar-free dried cranberries
- 5 brown rice cakes or 12 ultra-thin 100% whole-wheat rice cake squares, preferably Paskesz brand
- ½ cup fresh orange juice, divided
- 2 tablespoons agave nectar (can substitute honey)
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 6 ounces 70% dark bittersweet chocolate
- 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
- Cocoa powder or ground cinnamon for garnish, optional
- Raspberries for garnish, optional
- Place the walnuts in a food processor. Pulse until fine. Add the raisins and cranberries. Pulse until the mixture becomes sticky.
- Add the rice cakes. Continue to pulse until the mixture becomes fine and loose. Add 2 tablespoons of the orange juice, agave nectar, vanilla, and cinnamon. Pulse one last time until the mixture becomes sticky and gummy.
- Place the mixture in an ungreased 8 x 8-inch glass baking dish, spreading evenly across the pan. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the mixture into the bottom of the pan with a flat-bottomed object to evenly distribute it. Remove the plastic wrap and set the dish aside.
- Combine the chocolate, remaining orange juice, and espresso powder in the top of a double boiler that’s been placed over barely simmering water on low heat. Stir just until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.
- Remove from the heat quickly and immediately pour the melted chocolate mixture evenly over the top of the pressed walnut mixture. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Cut into desired shapes.
- If desired, dust cocoa powder, cinnamon, or a mixture of both onto your plates before placing the dessert bars. (Using a stencil is optional.) Add a few raspberries, if desired.
Note: To toast walnuts, preheat the oven to 275º. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake, checking after 10 minutes, then again every 2 minutes, until golden.