Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Date Bars

These are easy to make and make a great treat or snack for hungry husbands and kiddos. E claims they taste like cookie dough, and he went through a whole batch in a week. All you need are almonds, dates, dark chocolate, and a high powered blender or food processor. This recipe makes about 12 bars for about $8 which is $1.50 each making them much cheaper than a store bought health bar! I did not come up with recipe on my own, I adapted it from Bedrock Eats.

1.5 cups of whole dates or other dried fruit (check the label and do not buy any fruit with added sugar! all that should be listed on the label is the fruit! there is no need for anything else)

1.5 cups almonds or other nut (remember peanuts are a legume so stay away from those, walnuts would be good!)

2-3 squares of a dark chocolate bar (I like the 75-85% dark, check the label to make sure there isn't any high fructose corn syrup, 100% would be great for this because the dates are pretty sweet)

In a food processor, chop up the dates until a paste forms. Remove from food processor and set aside. Pour the nuts into the food processor and chop into a fine powder. Add the chocolate and chop it up too. This is the tricky part...slowly add in the dates until everything clumps together. If this is too much for the food processor to handle, pour the contents into a 9x9" baking dish or smaller (the one pictured is smaller)and mash together with your hands until you have a nice ball. Press the ball into the baking dish until it is an even thickness. You can use a spatula to make it flat on top. Chill and cut into bars. You can either wrap the bars in plastic wrap or you can store them in a container with parchment paper in between the layers. 

Update: If you use other nuts or fruit, they may stick together differently. That being said, you will need to adjust the nut:fruit ratio. I made a variation with apricots and cashews and added in the almond meal slowly, kneading with my hands. It is ok to not use the whole 1.5 cups of almond/nut meal! Let me know what you try!

Nutrition notes: These are meant to be a treat or a snack for very active people (like kids). Remember dates and other dried fruits are high in sugar. Even though it is natural sugar, it does not promote weight loss. Fructose is fructose where your body's fat stores are concerned! 1 reasonably sized bar every other day would be a decent serving size for someone trying to lose weight and fight their sweet tooth! 

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