Need atomic-level energy? Try treats from Iranian dates
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Need atomic-level energy? Try treats from Iranian dates

These healthy and invigorating Medjool Date Energy Bars build on a classic Mideast staple, layering exotic flavors on a sweet and nourishing base

Gluten-free, vegan medjool date bars (Aly Miller)
Gluten-free, vegan medjool date bars (Aly Miller)

Get creative with some vegan, gluten-free fruit and nut bars! Dense and chewy, they’re more like Lara bars than Kind bars. And dates, full of natural sugar and potassium, combined with nuts and seeds, are sure to keep your hunger at bay.

If you’re like me, snacks like these come in handy — breakfast only gets you so far. Stranded at work, you’ll soon be on the hunt for a mid-morning snack at the vending machine or nearby deli. Don’t get me wrong, grazing is great fun — but it sure can get expensive if you don’t plan ahead.

While browsing for recipes, I noticed a simple formula: 1.5 to 2 cups of dried fruit to every 1 cup of nuts. Most recipes call for medjool dates as a significant part of that dried fruit ratio, due to their plump and gooey sticking power. I think prunes or sun-dried figs could work just as well. For flavor and texture, you can add up to another half cup of optional ingredients, like spices, chia seeds, cocoa powder or shaved coconut. And the best thing is, if the “dough” just isn’t sticking, you can always add more dates.

Using these basic rules, I came up with a few recipes that I think you’ll enjoy. And, bonus: File these away for next spring because they’re kosher for Passover, too.

Note: this recipe calls for a food processor.

Ingredients

 

Medjool dates are filling and give a burst of energy (Wikimedia commons)
Medjool dates are filling and give a burst of energy (Wikimedia commons)

Coconut Date Bars
1 cup medjool dates, pitted (12-14 dates)
1 cup dried prunes
1/2 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup shaved coconut
1/2-1 tsp. sea salt (optional)

Apricot Cardamom Bars
1 cup medjool dates, pitted (12-14 dates)
1 cup dried apricots, packed
1 cup walnuts (you can also toast them!)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground cardamom, or more to taste
1/2 tsp ground ginger, or more to taste

Cocoa, Cranberry and Fig Bars
1 cup medjool dates, pitted (12-14 dates)
1/2 cup sun dried Turkish figs
1/2 cup dried cranberries, unsweetened
1 cup mix of raw walnuts, cashews, and almonds
2 heaping Tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp sea salt

Directions

The recipe is the same for all bar recipes.

First, make sure the dates are pitted. Add all ingredients into the food processor and process until a large ball forms. This can take up to two minutes of processing. Add more dates, prunes, or figs if the mixture is still not forming into a ball.

With the processor off, push it around a bit with a wooden spoon to make sure all the fruits are blended together properly. Blend for another minute after it reaches ball-state.

Take a break from the dough and line a square pan or rectangular baking tray with parchment paper.

Press the dough-like mixture into the lined tray. Chill overnight. Then, remove the dough from the tray and cut into squares or rectangles. Store them in the fridge with parchment paper between each bar so that they don’t stick together.

(Aly Miller was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and has been living in Brooklyn for the past three years. She graduated in 2011 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied human geography and lived in a lively vegan Jewish co-op.)

The Nosher food blog offers a dazzling array of new and classic Jewish recipes and food news, from Europe to Yemen, from challah to shakshuka and beyond. Check it out at www.TheNosher.com.

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