As the weather starts improving… although as I type this it is raining. I start to spend less time at home. Which means I start making more “mobile food.” My smoothie intake ramps up (salads I can drink). I make more green juices of different kinds, and I am always looking at recipes for simple snack bars that can sub as breakfast or an energy bar after yoga or a run (hoping I will get back into my running soon).
Really snack bars are so easy to create. To buy them you spend way more money than needed and often times there are ingredients in there you may not want. I confess that I do indulge in a pinch, but always kick myself knowing how easy they are to make and have on hand. I actually stepped out on a whim and made my own a couple of weeks ago from scratch and all at HC really liked them, but need to do the recipe again before sharing here. I am gaining confidence in the kitchen and realizing that a recipe really is just a guideline with most dishes.
This past weekend a friend of mine was having a pottery open house to sell her art to fund an upcoming mission trip to Kenya.
She asked if I would help prepare snacks for the event! Now while this makes me a little nervous, I enjoy making food that is good and good for you, to surprise people with, so I was on board!
I found an easy snack bar recipe and set about to ramp it up a little in the making!
Raw Sour Cherry Almond Bars
2 1/2 cups raw almonds
1/3 cup dried sour cherries
1 cup dates pitted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 teas. sea salt
juice of 1/2 lemon, no seeds please 🙂
1/4 ~1/3 cup dark chocolate chips/bar, optional but recommended 🙂
1/8 teas./ dash of chiptole pepper, or cayenne, optional
pinch of sea salt to melted chocolate if using and optional
In a food processor combine all the ingredients except chocolate and process until it starts to stick together well. Place a piece of parchment paper in a 9×9 baking dish (makes for easy clean up) before spooning mixture into pan and pressing evenly into place with a spatula or clean hands. Place in refrigerator for about an hour to set up before cutting into bars. If you want to elevate this bar, right before taking the bars out melt the chocolate. I use a saucepan, with boiling water, and a metal mixing boil that fits over the saucepan (this is where the chocolate melts!), double boiler fashion, stirring til the chocolate is melted. If you are using chiptole or cayenne add in while chocolate is melting, and just a dash of sea salt too! If you prefer you can use the microwave. Take the bars out of the fridge and drizzle the chocolate over the bars before cutting. These bars are best kept in the fridge.
*notes and tips. My bars seemed to fall apart a little easier than I think they should. I might have needed to either spend more time in the food processor or add a few dates to the party. Like I said the consistency should stick together fairly easy, just don’t over process lest you make nut butter 🙂 Have no fear though these mighty bites were eaten up, and I made a double batch! Also you will note that I added a little heat to my chocolate, but it’s my preference and if you only add a little people will notice a flavor change, an extra depth, but not necessarily the heat… it’s elevating the simple to the next level and playing on our vast array of taste buds! I highly recommend unless you just have a strong aversion to heat or are serving up to little kids!
If you don’t like cherries sub another dried fruit, or cocoa nibs, for a decadent double chocolate treat! Don’t like almonds try another nut mixture, just realize that nuts do have oil, and if you blend too much you will have a nut butter… still highly edible and yummy, but no longer a bar!
So get your snack on, or the next time someone ask you to bring a treat… bring this one, they will never realize that they are eating something good for them… they will be too WOW’d by the taste! Here’s to your health and making good choices!