My name is Jeanine. I am 34 years old, and I had never eaten a date. Until recently. They are not an attractive dried fruit. I mean, not many dried fruits are as gorgeous as they are before being dehydrated. But dates, well, they look like dried out beetles to me. Yeah, try convincing yourself to eat that. 😛
Good thing is, because of this blog, I push myself to try new foods I normally wouldn’t try, and dates were one of the latest things that I experimented with. It ends up, I actually don’t mind them at all.
Another confession, I have never bought the expensive date/nut bars that are available in the stores. I just can’t justify $1-2 for one little bar. So, being the frugal celiac that I am, I decided to try to make my own. I gotta say, these Chocolate Cranberry Date Bars were really, really good. I actually need to buy more dates now, I know these will be fantastic to take along camping and hiking this summer as well, and I’m looking forward to it.
There are a ton of recipes for date/nut bars on the web, for a rainbow of flavours. They are totally versatile, and can be made using your favorite dried fruit, flavourings, spices, and nuts. Feel free to play with your food.
- 1 cup whole dates, roughly chopped
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- pinch salt
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1-2 tablespoons cocoa powder (start with 1 tablespoon, if mixture is still sticky, add another tablespoon)
- Place roughly chopped dates and dried cranberries in the microwave. Heat for 30 seconds, just to warm it up slightly.
- Transfer to food processor and pulse until the dried fruits form a thick, rough paste (doesn't need to be smooth though).
- Add salt, walnuts, honey and cocoa powder.
- Pulse until the mixture comes together in a ball.
- Transfer mixture to a parchment (or waxed paper) lined container (I used a container measuring about 9"x4"). Firmly press mixture into container, and refrigerate for half an hour.
- Remove from container and, using a sharp knife, cut mixture into 6 bars. Wrap individually in plastic wrap, waxed paper, or small zipper seal bags. Keep refrigerated.