Date Bars.

Lara makes bars that are sticky and chewy and delightful.  Now, so do I and so can you!
Instead of spending $2.50 on a bar, I thought, hey, I can do that. I thought that at 11pm last night. Sorry upstairs neighbor, hope you can’t hear my food processor.

Step 1: Choose a flavor
This is often contingent on the ingredients in your pantry/ fridge, but you can plan ahead, I guess. If you want to be all organized and stuff.
I decided to make some kind of chocolatey spiced cranberry coconut pie bars. If necessary, consult the flavor bible a la Meg’s house.

Step 2: Ingredients..ASSEMBLEEE!
I didn’t exactly measure, but here are round-a-bout measurements.
1 package of dates, pitted and ready. I think usually its about 20-25 dates in a package
2/3 cup cranberries
1/2 cup coconut
3/4 cup slivered almonds
a small sliver or two of crystallized ginger
2 tbsp honey
1/4 c mini chocolate chips
1/3 c cocoa powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp lemon juice
1/3 cup protein powder or you could use almond meal or coconut flour
Water or applesauce…until desired consistency

This shows the final mixture in the pan and all of my spills

Step 3: Blend it!!
Put everything in the processor bowl except the water or applesauce. Blend until you get a doughy consistency similar to chunky play-dough. If it is too dry add a tablespoon of water or applesauce, if its too wet, add more almond meal, coconut flour, or protein powder, again a tablespoon at a time. The mixture should just begin to ball up but not be too sticky. If its still too sticky take it out and knead in a little more of your dry ingredient.

Step 4: Smush it.
Prep a square baking dish by tearing sheets of wax paper to fit crosswise on the bottom and sides. Wax paper is best for this because it wont stick to your bars and you wont mess with the consistency by having to spray parchment, not to mention end up with greasy fingers. Foil would be a nightmare. drop the date mixture into the baking dish and use your very lightly oiled hands or the bottom of a very lightly oiled measuring cup to flatten into the pan. Once you get it relatively flat, put another piece of wax paper on top and smooth it out.

thoroughly smushed

Step 5: Fridge it.
Now is the part where you let the flavors meld together and the bars firm up. I imagine 4 hours at the least but I let mine rest overnight.

covered and smoothed

Step 6: Prepare for everyday snacking
Once the bars have rested, take them out of the container, put on a flat surface, and cut into bars, about 2″ wide by 3-4″ long. For the square pan I halved it width-wise then cut each side into four portions. You end up with about 8. then you taste it so lets say 7. Tear off pieces of wax paper that are large enough to comfortably wrap each bar within. you can tape them closed, like little mini presents, or get fancy-schmancy and wrap them again in fancy paper and fancy yarn for a picnic time snack.


Store these in the fridge until you are ready to eat!
I had some ideas for other flavors to add to the almonds and dates, but most you can copy from lara:

Key Lime Pie: Lime juice, lime zest, crushed graham cracker (just a bit), cashews, coconut
Black forest cake: Cherries, cocoa powder, chopped dark chocolate bits, maraschino cherry juice.
Blueberry pie: dried blueberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, blueberry juice (or a few teaspoons of a juice cocktail), cashews
Peanut butter cup: Peanut butter 2 tbsp, cocoa powder, mini chocolate chips, peanuts, almond meal.
Strawberry banana smoothie: Freeze dried strawberries (found in snack aisle at Target), handful of banana chips, 1/3 ripe banana, almond meal, lemon juice
Cranberry orange white chocolate cookie: Cashews, dried cranberries, orange zest, orange juice (1-2 tbsp), white chocolate or yogurt chips, pinch of crushed graham cracker
Lemon thyme cookie: Lemon zest 1tbsp, lemon juice, vanilla extract, tsp lemon thyme, 1 scoop vanilla or cake batter protein powder
Hummingbird cake: cinnamon, ginger, dried pineapple, grated carrot, walnuts, pecans, 5 maraschino cherries
Ginger snap: 1 tsp grated ginger, 2 tsp molasses, few strips of crystallized ginger, cashews, pinch cinnamon, pecans
Pecan pie: Pecans, butterscotch chips, cinnamon, ginger, pinch of mace, orange zest

The list can go on and on..and I want to eat all of them if you have the right combinations the possibilities are endless.

omnomnom

Happy blending!
– Stine

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