Soak dates in warm water for 10 minutes to soften, longer if dates seem dry. Remove dates and reserve liquid. (See Note 1 below.)
Add nuts to food processor and process until nuts are small pieces.
Pour chopped nuts into a bowl and mix with cocoa, salt, and chocolate chips. Set aside.
Add dates to food processor and process until it is a paste.
Add date paste to the nut mixture and mix well.
If mixture is too dry and isn't sticking together, add reserved date liquid, 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing well after each addition until everything just begins to stick together. (See Note 2 below.)
Using the back of a spoon, press date nut mixture firmly into a parchment lined 8x8 pan or loaf pan, spreading evenly and to the edges.
Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into bars.
Store bars in the refrigerator. (See Note 3 below.)
If the dates you are using are already soft and moist, you can skip the soaking step. Soak the dates if they seem a bit hard or dry, in which case, they may need more than 10 minutes.
Be careful not to add too much water to the mixture when mixing all the ingredients together. If it's too wet, the bars will not hold together as well and you will also lose some of the chewiness. If you do not have any reserved liquid from soaking the dates, use water.
If you want to turn these into energy bars, use coffee instead of water!
Store the bars in the refrigerator. Wrap them individually to grab and go, or store in single layers separated by parchment paper in a sealed container.
If you use an 8x8 pan, your bars will be thinner than if you use a loaf pan. Either way, you will get 8 bars or 16 squares.
Use whatever nuts you prefer to substitute the ones in this recipe.
Seeds, dried coconut flakes, or cranberries would make good substitutions for the chocolate chips
Skip the chocolate chips if you want for a more even texture.
You can also roll these into balls and coat them in a dusting of cocoa!