Nutty Date Bars

Nutty Date Bars from SheCooksHeCleans.netWe were on the lookout for a good on-the-go breakfast item when Mr. He Cleans ran across an Alton Brown recipe for Seedy Date Bars. The name of the recipe, I have to admit, is awesome just by itself – but not as awesome as the tasty and healthy ingredient list.

Well, of course I wanted to make them immediately, but didn’t have the 5 different types of seeds that were called for. I did have a lot of nuts, so I adapted Mr. Brown’s recipe to create a version that is both nutty and seedy. I mean, isn’t your favorite bar a bit nutty and seedy? (Are we still talking about food here?)

I had walnuts and pecans on hand, but I think most other nuts would work as well. The original recipe called for pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds, so swap those in as you’d like – but keep the proportions the same (nuts/seeds vs fruits). You can also substitute another dried fruit for the apricots, but the dates are essential to the consistency. Please note: a food processor is a must-have for this in order to blend the dates and apricots into a paste.

Ingredients (makes 8 x 8-inch pan, 12 bars)

  • 8 ounces pitted Medjool dates
  • 4 ounces dried apricots
  • 1 ounce crystallized ginger (I used Ginger Nibs)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil (optional)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  1. Line an 8 x 8-inch pan with parchment paper. I left some parchment paper hanging over the edge so it would be easier to lift out for slicing later.
  2. Combine the dates, apricots, ginger, salt, and ground flaxseed in the bowl of the food processor. Process until the mixture forms a thick paste, stopping to scrape down the bowl if necessary. [My dates were a bit dry from being in the refrigerator, so I added a little toasted sesame oil to help the mixture along. This is optional.]
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add the pecans and walnuts to the pan and toast, stirring occasionally, for around 5 minutes. Add the coconut, chia seeds, and sesame seeds and toast, stirring, for a few more minutes until fragrant. Be careful not to scorch the nuts and seeds.
  4. Allow to cool slightly, then add the toasted nuts and seeds to the food processor. Pulse until you get the desired consistency. The mixture will form a big ball in the food processor.
  5. Place the date mixture into the prepared pan and press into an even layer with your fingers. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Using the parchment paper “handles”, place the square on a cutting board. Cut into 12 bars with a pizza cutter. Store bars in a covered container, separated by parchment paper.

Nutty Date Bars 2

6-stringdrag-rock_0One new, one old for today’s musical menu. First up, its the first album from 6 String Drag in 15 years, Roots Rock ‘N’ Roll. Kenny Roby and crew were the darlings of the No Depression crowd back in the day, and years haven’t slowed them down at all. From the wry “Kingdom of Gettin’ It Wrong” to “Sylvia”, it’s a welcome return from North Carolina’s favorite sons.

I hadn’t listened to Calexico in years, but when Jason Isbell tweeted his admiration for Feast of Wire, I revisited the legendary Southwest rockers. And Isbell was right…this is a masterpiece. A combination of Tex-Mex, alt-country and a spaghetti western soundtrack, it’s a mesmerizing listen. calexico