date balls (energy bites!)

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So I am officially a huge date fan now and remember that huge bag of pressed dates I had kicking around in the pantry?…Well it is gone and I had to buy pitted dates this time (I couldn’t find the pressed ones) and the 1kg container is at it’s half life already!

These are very similar to the previous post crispy oat, nut & date bars but they have a hint of peanut butter in them (which means less butter butter!), less sugar and lots of almond & pumpkin seed goodness.  Definitely experiment your favourite seeds & nuts – and the measurements don’t have to be exact but be careful to add them slowly to the date mixture because the important part is to be sure there is enough date ratio so the ball holds together well. These are a household favourite now and my kids just love them! They are a great snack to keep in your purse (they snacked on them this morning at the grocery store) with minimal mess!

*If your seeds and/or nuts are salted – you don’t need to add salt to the recipe.

what you need (give or take!):

  • 1 1/4 cup pitted dates
  • 3/4 cup whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 cup rice crispy cereal
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar (or coconut sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 small pinch of salt

what to do:

  1. In a food processor, pulse almonds until quite fine (you can keep it chunkier but it tends to stick better in the ball if it’s smaller). Remove.
  2. In the same processor, pulse pumpkin seeds. Add to almond mixture and combine.
  3. In the same processor, pulse the dates until it forms a ball going around and around – paste like.
  4. In a small pot on medium low, add dates, butter, peanut butter, cinnamon, salt and brown sugar – use a firm spatula or large fork to mash everything together, until evenly combined – then turn off the heat. Add vanilla and stir.
  5. Add about 3/4 of the seed and nut mixture to the date mixture – stir to combine – if it’s still quite sticky and date dominant – add the rest. Add the rice crispies as well – stir and either form balls or press into a 9×9″ square pan for squares.

*if you are making balls – grease your fingertips a little bit with vegetable oil or butter so that they don’t stick to you.

*if you are making squares – make sure they are completely cooled before you slice. a knife dipped in hot water will make the slicing easier.

ENJOY!

crispy oat, nut & date bars

 

I have had a huge bag of pressed dates sitting in my pantry since my craze with baking date filled oatmeal cookies. I had a craving for the sweetness of dates but didn’t have the time commitment today to make the cookies – so pie pie and I experimented in the kitchen a little today while the boss was napping…and oh man these are actually amazing. They are so tasty I think if you had someone taste them blindfolded they might even think there is some sort of chocolate in there.  Even as we were tasting them, I asked pie pie if she thought we made junk food or good food…and she looked at me with a cute sheepish smile and replied “junk food” and I reviewed our ingredients again with her and she said…”good food??!”.  It is packed with nuts, dates, some oats and rice crispies, and for richness yes there is butter & brown sugar…but not lots.  My husband came home from work and popped one into his mouth and then said “mmm..what is this? is it bad for you?” and pie pie happily told him “no! it’s good food!” hahaha, after which he proceeded to eat a few more. If you or your family are like us (sweet tooths!) then this recipe is a must try!  You could certainly eliminate the brown sugar too if you prefer, as the dates are quite sweet.

Oh – and just realized – they are gluten free, for those who can’t eat wheat!

I also recommend making a double batch because these will go fast…

prep: 10 min     cook: 5 min     yield: 9 squares

what you need:

  • 1 cup pressed dates
  • 1 cup crushed mixed nuts (we used unsalted Kirkland brand of mixed nuts)
  • 3 tbsp (not packed) brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup rice crispy cereal
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • small pinch of salt

what to do:

  1. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine dates, brown sugar, cinnamon and butter.
  2. Crush nuts in a bag with a rolling pin (perfect task for your kids!)
  3. Once butter is melted and dates are loosened, remove from heat and mix with a fork to work butter and sugar into the dates.
  4. Add in the rest of the ingredients and mix using fork or spatula, until everything seems evenly combined.
  5. Press firmly into a 9×9″ pan and allow to cool completely before cutting into squares and storing in an airtight container. Instead of squares you could roll them into balls (also a fun task for kids) – don’t be scared to press them in your hands firmly to make sure they stay together in a ball form. Enjoy!

pie pie, my lil’ kitchen helper

boss woke up from her nap to a healthy fun snack!