Tuesday, February 21, 2012

To Die For Date Bars

I have been so excited to finally get to this post to share this great and very simple recipe with you! These date bars are so delicious and they really satisfy ones sweet tooth in a very healthful way without added sugar! My kids even liked them, but I have been told recently that that doesn't mean anything anymore because my kids are too fixed. I suppose there could be some truth in that, but most kids are pretty honest if something isn't good, and my kids are still sugar hounds even though they are good at eating their vegetables!

So I found this recipe for Lemon Ginger Date Bars on a blog I read called The Edible Perspective. That is also where I found Cake for Breakfast and French Toast Oatmeal so it is worth checking out! It sounded so easy and I was planning on making them for small group. I had been looking for a way to use these Medjool Dates I picked up at Sam's.
Medjool dates are one of my favorite alternatives to sugar! They are plenty sweet on their own so you don't need any other sweetener. They also boast some great nutrition facts. They have lots of vitamins and are particularly high in vitamin A, have lots of minerals, especially potassium, they contain zero saturated or trans fats, have no cholesterol, are low in sodium, have some protein and amino acids and of course fiber, and the sugar contained in them is fructose which metabolizes slowly in your system so it is the good kind we need for energy!

So for the scrumptious date bars you need to grind up in the food processor one generous cup of almonds. Sorry for the blurriness of the picture but a picture is worth a thousand words and if I didn't show it you might forget to grind them up.

You will need 2tsp. lemon zest and 1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice. You will also need 1/2 tsp. ground ginger. Add that to the chopped almonds and then move that to another bowl temporarily.

And about 12 of these delicious dates of course. Don't forget to pit them first though. Process the dates until they are finely chopped. Mine began to form a ball. Add the nut, lemon, ginger, mixture back into the dates and process. The mixture will come together nicely and you should easily be able to roll it into a ball. If it isn't holding together you may need to add more dates.

I pressed my mixture out onto a piece of waxed paper with my hands but that was after I rolled a few balls and popped them in my mouth!

I covered it with another piece of wax paper and rolled it into a nice square. I had to stop a few times and lift the paper and shape it with my hands. I found it actually worked just fine to not have the paper on top.

Since I was planning on taking these to small group I shaped them into little date squares. I ended up getting 30 out of the recipe and that was after Miles, his mom, and I all taste tested. So probably about 35 would be more accurate.

I know someone will ask how thick I rolled it so here is a picture for you! These little bars of goodness are so refreshing! I was contemplating rolling some into balls for a great energy snack before or after a workout but I have to say the bars are more satisfying. I will do the balls next time though since it will be handy!

Now if you would like to see better pictures and get the full recipe click here on Lemon Gingery Goodness. Ashley cut hers into bars to mimic something more like a Larabar.

I was not finished with just the lemon and ginger however! Something inside me was telling me I needed a chocolate version!

I followed the same beginning steps to process the dates and almonds but this time I also added cocoa, dark chocolate chocolate chips, organic coconut chips, orange zest and fresh squeezed orange juice!

HEAVENLY! Where the lemon ones are a refreshing pick me up, the chocolate ones are an indulgent treat! The chocolate ones are gone now because they were everyone's favorite. If you don't care for orange and chocolate together you could always use vanilla or almond extract instead.

Please try these VERY soon!
They are so awesome!
I am sure you will thank me!

I must now be on the hunt for these dates in town! If you find them first please let me know. If you are making the trek to Sam's I think I paid $8.98 for the tub of these so don't be alarmed by the price. You get a lot of them and they are totally worth it!

These will become a snack we have around here very often!

Inspired by Lemon Gingery Goodness Bars from the Edible Perspective

Chocolate Orange Date Bars
1 generous cup almonds, processed finely
10-12 Medjool Dates, pitted and processed
1/4 cup cocoa (more to taste if needed)
1/3 cup coconut chips/flakes
1/2 cup dark chocolate chocolate chips, finely chopped
2 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. fresh squeezed orange juice

Process almonds then remove from processor. Process dates and add almonds back in along with the remaining ingredients. Process until mixture holds together nicely. If too dry add more dates. Press mixture onto a piece of waxed paper and flatten with a rolling pin to desired shape. Cut into squares or bars or alternatively, roll into balls.

Post Publish Update

I have since also made a Lime Coconut version that is also very delicious. Use the same basic steps to make these. Here is the recipe.

Lime Coconut Date Bars
1 generous cup almonds, finely processed
12 Medjool dates, pitted and processed
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes finely processed
2 tsp. lime zest
1 Tbsp. lime juice (a little more if they are too dry might be necessary)

Remember it is really easy to roll these into balls too and store in a container in the fridge.

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