This month I have had to take a step back from the oven and my usual weekend baking as I complete the Whole30. I am three weeks in (only one to go!) and have found out a few interesting things about my eating habits and it has challenged me in to create new things in the kitchen. I will probably write a post about it once I am complete, but what I wanted to share today was one of the simple recipes that has got me through the hard days when I wanted something sweet.
Just because I can’t have my usual cakes, muffins and biscuits doesn’t mean I can’t get creative with a sweet treat! After the second week without sugar, I was starting to crave it. Fruit was just not enough and I knew that if I didn’t find something else to help me fight the cravings, I was not going to last the full 30 days. That is when I discovered the amazingness of date and nut bars.
These bars are so good. With the classic flavours of a lamington, chocolate and coconut, they are actually dangerously easy to overindulge in! They are rich, chocolatey and a bit chewy. The perfect bite sized snack. They are also vegan, paleo, Whole30 approved, dairy-free, gluten-free…basically perfect for anyone who doesn’t have a nut allergy!
The other thing I love about these bars is just how simple they are to make! You literally throw all 4 ingredients into a food processor until it gets sticky, then let the mixture chill in the fridge. There is not much that can go wrong.
Dates are pretty much just bit sized pieces of sugar. They are so sweet and sticky that they make the perfect base for these bars, adding that sweetness and combining everything else together. In this recipe I do not specify using medjool dates as many health food bloggers will. Basically I cannot justify the price. I use the regular cheap dates and soak them in warm water to rehydrate them before using. The general benefit I can see is that medjool dates provide a better flavour, but in this recipe I am adding strong flavours of coconut and cacao so I still do not see enough of a benefit. If you prefer them, use them, otherwise regular cheap dates will be perfectly fine.
I think the possibilities for different variations of these bars could be essentially endless. I do love the addition of cacao powder though as the bitterness cuts the sweetness of the dates and it makes me feel like I am eating little pieces of chocolate.
Knowing exactly what is in our food is so important, and with just how easy these bars are to make I see no reason to ever purchase a snack bar again.
- 1 cup dates
- ¾ cup cashews
- ¼ cup coconut flakes
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- Soak dates in warm water for 10 minutes.
- Drain dates and add to a food processor with cashews, coconut flakes & cacao powder.
- Process until everything is chopped up and mixture is sticky.
- Place onto a tray lined with baking paper and use your hands press mixture together and flatten out.
- Place another sheet of baking paper over the top and using a rolling pin, gently roll over the mixture so it presses together more and flattens out.
- Place in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
- Remove from fridge and continue rolling out mixture until it is the desired thickness.
- Cut into small squares.
Bars are best if stored in the fridge.
Makes about 15-20 bars depending on how small you cut them.
Have you done the Whole30? Do you use medjool dates or regular dates? What flavour combination of these bars would you like to see?
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