Since I make most of our food from scratch, I often fail at having good, healthy snacks on hand. Despite having jars of tomatoes, quinoa and chickpeas the the cupboard and veggies in the fridge, there are times when I need a quick refueling and not a full meal. I have a tendency to go too long without eating which threatens to turn me into a grumpy two year old on the verge of a meltdown. Having healthy snacks nearby makes my day better.
I've been meaning to make some bars for a while. My own version of a clif, luna, lara, power bar full of good stuff and none of the unnecessary or unpronounceable ingredients that are found in bars from the store. I don't know why I put it off for this long, it could not have been much easier.
Unlike the energy bars you buy in individual packages, I don't know the nutritional content of these. They are sweet with dates and dried cherries, but not sugary. They have plenty of protein from the almonds, pumpkin and sesame seeds. I tend to treat bars like this as an occasional snack for days when I've been working at the farm, going on long bike rides, or when I really need to refuel. They also make a handy breakfast or part of lunch when I don't have much else available.
I'm not sure what to call them. The best I could come up with was the wholesome and boring: fruit, nut and seed bars. I haven't come up with a name that sums up everything that is good about these little bars. They are vegan, gluten free, mostly raw and take very little time or effort to create. I am just happy that I have them nearby when I need a snack.
Fruit, Nut and Seed Bars
There are probably infinite variations on these. You could substitute dried cranberries or raisins for the dried cherries, you could use different types of nuts and seeds, add cocoa if you like a chocolatey bar. Spices like cinnamon or crystallized ginger would enhance the flavor, if you like that sort of thing. I covered them in coconut, but it isn't necessary. If you don't have a food processor, mash the dates and chop the cherries, almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
15 Medjool dates
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup flax seeds (optional)
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
Slice into each date, lengthwise, and remove the pit. Place the dates and cherries in a food processor and pulse until they become a thick paste. Add the almonds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds (if using), and salt and process until everything is mostly mixed together. Dump into a bowl and mix in the sesame seeds, stirring and kneading until you have a thick, sticky and uniform mixture. On a piece of parchment or other non-stick surface, press the mixture into a rectangle until it is about a half inch thick (or your desired thickness) use a rolling pin for a more uniform thickness. Cut into 12 three by one inch bars, or the shape and size that you prefer.
For storage: Wrap each bar in a small piece of parchment paper and refrigerate. Or freeze the individual bars and then store together in an airtight container.