Ricki Heller's Raw Cocoa Nibbles

1/2 cup (80 g.) raw almonds
1-1/4 cups (about 150 g.) unsweetened dried dates, chopped
2 tablespoons (20 g.) raw cacao powder or organic cocoa powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml.) vanilla (optional)

optional add-ins (choose one of the following): 6 leaves mint, chopped; 1/4-1/2 tsp. (1-2 ml.) chili flakes; 1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) chopped candied ginger; 1 Tbsp. (15 ml.) raw cocoa nibs; 2 tsp. (10 ml.) freshly grated orange rind; 1/2 tsp. (2.5 ml.) cinnamon, or play with other spices of your choice

In a food processor, process the almonds, dates, and cocoa until you have what looks like a fine meal. Sprinkle with vanilla and optional add-ins, if using, and continue to process until the mixture comes together as a ball that rolls around the edge of the processor bowl (this may take a while -- up to 5 minutes or so; occasionally stop and scrape sides of processor to push the mixture toward the blades).

The "dough" is ready when, if you pinch some and press it between your fingers, it sticks together readily and looks a bit shiny. (Sometimes if the dates are dry, this doesn't happen easily; in that case, sprinkle in up to 2 tsp. water along with the vanilla, and proceed as above). The mixture should NOT be as soft as a cookie dough, but more like clay.

Place a clean piece of plastic wrap on the counter and turn the mixture onto it. Using your hands, form the mixture into a log about 8 inches (20 cm.) long. Try to compress the mixture as much as possible so you have a very dense log. Wrap with the plastic and roll the log one or two times, compressing it with your hands, to squeeze out any air spaces.

If you have a pressing need for chocolate, you can slice and eat the nibbles immediately. However, these are much better after the mixture has been refrigerated at least 2 hours or overnight, as it firms up considerably and will attain the texture of a dense fudge when cold. Makes about 6 servings. Will keep up to one week in the fridge.