Hazelnut tahini squares
I'm frequently naming "desert island" foods. Extra virgin olive oil definitely makes the list. As do hazelnuts and chocolate. This year, I think tahini grabbed a spot. I've been eating, preparing it, and dreaming about it in both salty and sweet combinations. Here it helps hold everything together adding a most wonderful depth and nuttiness to the mix. Try freezing them for 20 minutes if you like things chewy!
Hazelnut Tahini Squares (inspired by the Sprouted Kitchen)
makes 16 small squares
1 cup hazelnuts, roasted and skinned
5 medium-large dates
1/4 tsp salt
2 TBS tahini
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBS rolled oats +/- 1.5 tsp more
4 oz 70% dark chocolate
Flaky sea salt (I used Maldon)
In a food processor, blend the dates, salt, tahini, and vanilla into a paste. Remove into a small bowl and set aside. Add hazelnuts and oats to food processor and pulse until the hazelnuts are roughly chopped, but not quite sandy. Add in date-tahini caramel and process another minute or two until it clumps together. You don't want it to go too far and turn into nut butter, but you want all the pieces to stick. If it's too wet, add the other little bit of oats. If it's too dry, you can add another date or smidge of maple syrup.
Place a piece of parchment paper onto a cookie sheet and pour the hazelnut tahini mix onto it. Shape the heap into a square with your hands, giving it a good pat to encourage everything to stick together. My rectangle was 4" x 6 " roughly. Chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.
Remove and cut into 16 squares. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate on a double boiler. Lightly grease a piece of parchment paper and place on baking sheet. Using the tongs of a fork to help you, dip each square and coat evenly with chocolate and transfer to the sheet. Sprinkle with some chopped nuts, cacao nibs, and sea salt. Let set in fridge for at least an hour.