Monday, November 11, 2013
Chewy cashew goodness
I have my mother to thank for putting me onto this possibility. Like so many people, my mother has had to cut out gluten from her diet, which means she's had to vary up her eating options. The other day she excitedly told me about how she threw some dates and cashews into the food processor and got a concoction that she described as "Lara bars out of a jar." She found the result tasty and would simply take spoonfuls of the stuff.
I immediately thought, "Why not make them into Lara bars?!" and began to google "Homemade Lara Bar recipes." Do you know what I found and how easy and delicious it is?
Well then, let me tell you.
For the Basic Cashew bar, all you need are dates, cashews, vanilla extract, and salt. Basically the options thereon out for variations are endless.
I initially used this recipe from Chocolate-covered Katie, but I quadrupled it since I had tons of dates and cashews (thank you, local Indian grocery store, for selling these for cheap) and figured I wanted to have a good number of bars. Since the original recipe calls for a "tiny pinch" of salt, I figured four "pinches" was about a quarter to a half of a teaspoon of salt. It ended up being a bit too salty but it was still tasty.
Later, I tried the recipe from Damy Healthy. I followed the Key Lime Pie recipe and used her cashew-date ratio; however, I was less pleased with the consistency (too much cashew) and ended up adding more dates. I did like the lime and coconut, though, so I'll probably make that variation again.
Last night I tried my hand at making a "macaroon" variation by adding coconut and chocolate chips to the date-cashew base (because who wouldn't want to eat that?). Ummm ... Delicious. I added approximately 3/4 cup of both coconut and chocolate chips. It's almost as good as a cookie. Seriously. But with only a quarter of the guilt.
So basically, here's what you do for the basic recipe ...
1.) Take your ingredients:
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 2/3 cup date
(I recommend using this ratio. I quadrupled it and was very happy with the result)
- 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- Pinch sea salt
2.) Blend together all the ingredients in the food processor. It'll finish up looking like a giant ball of chewy date and cashew goodness.
3.) Then you can use your hands to shape into bars or you can roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper as thin or thick as you'd like. If you roll it out, allow it to chill in the fridge before cutting into bars (the pizza cutter worked beautifully)
5.) Store any remainders in a tupperware container in the fridge.
I can't say how much I have enjoyed these the past two weeks, especially with a glass of cold milk. Mmmm. These bars really came so in handy for when I needed a super quick breakfast or lunch or simply a snack. I've never done the Paleo Diet, but I'm presuming these are Paleo friendly. They're high in fiber, protein, and deliciousness. I hope you try them out, because they're going to be staples around our house for a while.