Please tell me someone caught the Pitch Perfect reference with the name of this recipe.  Please.

Whatever.  I laughed.

This recipe is the best of both worlds: a dessert that is also chock-full of super foods and health-promoting fats!  It is also featured in the Paleo Cookie Exchange ebook that I co-wrote with Anne Marie Garland of Grass Fed Salsa.  It's a favorite of my mom's, with a sweet and salty taste that is very rich.  It's a great go-to for parties or holiday gatherings and also happens to be vegan.  But the best part?  NO oven time!

Maca-Awesome Choco Nut Butter Bites

Prep:  25 minutes   Cook time:  0 minutes   Cool time:  20+ minutes   Total time:  45+ minutes

Yield:  1 9x9 pan to cut into as many pieces as you please



1.  Melt 16-oz package of chocolate chips the way you wish (microwave, stove, etc), making sure not to overheat and burn the chocolate.  Once melted, spread the chocolate evenly in the bottom of the 9x9 pan you will be building this dessert in.  Place the container with the chocolate into your fridge to harden as you prepare the next layer.

2.  In a food processor, blend together the dates, 2 tbsp of agave, maca powder, and cashews.  Process them until an even and sticky consistency forms (mine actually rolled up into a ball in the food processor).  It will be moldable but not runny like a batter.

3.  Once the chocolate is completely hardened in the fridge, remove it and pour almond butter onto it, spreading evenly on top of the chocolate.

4.  Once almond butter is added to your liking, press the date mixture on top.  I pressed it in pieces in my hands first, then worked those pieces onto the almond butter so as to make sure the layers stayed fairly defined and separate from one another.

5.  Place the container back in the fridge as you make the last layer.  Melt the cacao butter using the method you prefer (it'll be about 2 1/2 minutes in the microwave, but do it in 60-second or 30-second intervals to check softness because it melts FAST once it starts).

6.  Once fully melted, mix in the vanilla and 1 tbsp of remaining agave with the cacao butter.  Though cacao butter smells strongly of chocolate, it is fairly unflavored and these ingredients help to enhance it a bit.

7.  Pull container out of the fridge, and slowly pour cacao butter evenly across the top.  The date layer should be pretty solid and thus the cacao butter will not sink through to the other layers.  You may have to press down a little on parts of the date layer that come above the top of the melted cacao butter.

8. Once it is evenly poured and the date layer does not have any pieces sticking out through the cacao butter layer, sprinkle the 1/4 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips onto it before it begins to harden.  Place in the fridge for at least another 20 minutes to solidify and cool.

9.  Once the cacao is completely hardened and the other layers have firmed in the fridge a bit more, you may take it out and cut into pieces to serve and enjoy!  Use a sharp knife, as the chocolate is a bit finicky and tough to cut through sometimes.  The gooey center perfectly balances the crunchy top and bottom, though, so it's totally worth it.

1 16-oz package dark or semi-sweet chocolate chunks of choice (I used Enjoy Life brand)

2/3 cup almond butter

1 cup raw cashews

8 large pitted medjool dates, soaked if not already soft

1 tbsp maca powder

3 tbsp agave

1/2 cup cacao butter

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips of choice (again, I used Enjoy Life brand)