There are times when having a nut allergy is a massive pain. Recently, lots of my friends have been munching away on fruit and nut snack bars like Nakd. Pinterest also seems in love with date & nut bars. And the fact that I can’t eat them makes me really annoyed! They look so tasty and (almost) healthy.
I should also admit at this point that until very recently, I thought I didn’t like dates. I must have tried them at some point as a child, and have been convinced ever since that they are just not for me. Then my colleague brought in a huge box of dates to share and, rather than declining I decided to try one instead. Oh how wrong my former self was… dates are delish!
The third star that aligned in the making of these bars was a bargain purchase of 3 packs of dates for £1 from a shop near my new flat. So in a way, I felt I had to attempt nut-free date bars straight away.
I compared several recipes and then dove in and made up my own with things I thought would be tasty. Depending on the size and juiciness of your dates you might need to adjust the amount of cocoa powder – you want a thick mixture that takes a good bit of elbow grease to stir.
The final bars are really tasty, and surprisingly filling. The cocoa powder makes them chocolately, dates give a sweetness and texture and the seeds give a lovely crunch. And they are really easy to make, even without a food processor. What more could you ask for?
I’ll keep experimenting with different flavours, but for now I have my heart set on a chocolate orange variety…
Chocolate & Seed Date Bars (Nut-Free) Recipe
15 dried dates
4 heaped Tbsp pumpkin seeds
4 heaped Tbsp sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp oats
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Soak your dates. Pour some boiling water over the dates and leave them to one side for about 20-30mins, until the skins have softened slightly. (You may be able to skip this part if you have a food processor – let me know if you try!)
2. Toast your seeds. Heat an oven to 180C and put seeds on a metal tray. Give them a shake every 5 mins or so until they’re slightly browned and start making popping noises. Add the oats for the last few mins too.
3. Drain the water off of the dates, take out the stones and puree along with the vanilla. (I used a hand blender.) Make sure you break down any large lumps. Stir in the cocoa until well combined, then add in seeds.
4. Lay some clingfilm on a tray/plate, add the paste, then another layer of cling film. Roll to your desired thickness. Put in fridge until set, then chop into appropriate sized pieces and wrap in grease proof paper.