Date and Oat Cookies

A few months back I bought a bag of medjool dates with plans to turn them into some sort of naturally sweetened dessert. I brought them home and placed them in my pantry where they have sat ever since. Occasionally I have thought, "I should do something with those dates" and then nothing would happen. Today I decided was finally the day to pull those dates out and make use of them. I decided on a cookie. There are about a million options out there for date cookies, so I just picked one and went for it. I made a few alterations along the way, but ended up with a sweet and flavorful cookie filled with wholesome ingredients that I can at least try to convince myself is a little healthier than the norm! 

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To suit my own preferences I made a few changes which included substituting almonds for pecans, olive oil for walnut oil, and omitted the honey which in my opinion is just added even more sugar to an already sweet cookie. I added a little milk to make up a little extra liquid. All these changes seemed to work out very well. I'm excited for snack time!

 
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Date and Oat Cookies
Adapted from Dishing Up the Dirt
Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup (90 grams) oat flour
  • 3/4 cup (60 grams) old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup (180 grams) Medjool dates, pitted- about 10 dates
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) olive oil
  • 1/4 c (55 grams) milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chunks

Directions
Preheat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine the oat flour, rolled oats, cardamom and salt.

In a food processor grind the almonds, dates, olive oil, milk, egg and vanilla until a smooth ball of dough is formed.

Combine the date mixture with the oat mixture and mix everything together until well combined, adding in the chocolate chunks as things start to come together. Cover the bowl with a towel and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

When ready, remove the dough from the fridge, form dough balls (about 50 grams each) and then lightly flatten the tops with the back of a spoon. The cookies wont spread while baking so you can keep them fairly close to each other on the baking sheet. Bake until the bottoms are lightly brown but the cookies are still soft in the middle, about 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Yields: 12 cookies (approximately 205 calories each)

Coconut Cocoa Nib Bites

If you're looking for a quick and healthy snack, look no further. There are so many recipes out there for snack bites or energy balls or whatever you want to call them. These coconut cocoa nib bites are just one iteration, and a tasty one at that! I love the sweetness from the dates mixed with the bitter funk of the cocoa nibs and the chew from the coconut. Everything goes into the food processor and processed until it all comes together. Then just shape into balls and store in the fridge or freezer. Pop one out when you need a little snack. Sweet and hearty and something you can feel good about eating!

As with most recipes like this, these bites are endlessly versatile. You can use your favorite mix ins and flavorings. No almonds? Try peanuts. No dates? I think prunes would work quite well! No cocoa nibs, try some finely chopped chocolate.  Whatever sounds good to you can probably end up working out wonderfully!

 
 

Coconut Cocoa Nib Bites
Adapted from OH, Babycakes
Ingredients

  • 3 ounces coconut
  • 1/2 cup (2 1/4 ounces) raw almonds
  • Pinch salt
  • 8 medjool dates or 15-18 deglet noor dates (approximately 4 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2-4 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) cocoa nibs
  • 3/4 ounce sunflower seeds

Directions
In a food processor fitted with the S blade, blend the coconut, almonds, and salt into a fine meal. Add the dates and pulse for 30-45 seconds. Add the water; pulse until combined. 

Transfer the mixture to a small mixing bowl, stir in the sunflower seeds and cacao nibs. Form the mixture into small, bite sized balls. Freeze for 30 minutes on a cookie sheet, then transfer to an air tight container or bag and store in the freezer.

Date and Almond Breakfast Bars

Quick post this week. You may or may not have noticed my love for snack bars. Usually oat based, hearty, filling and on the healthier side. Well, here's another winner! These bars are soft, but not chewy, more of a sandy texture. They are slightly sweet, just enough for me, and a little salty (which I love!). The dates add a nice natural sweetness without being an overwhelming flavor. They bars bake up pretty firm and hold together unless it's really warm out, or they sit in a hot car for a while! Whoops!! 

I cut back slightly on the honey in these bars, just by 1 tablespoon. They may have been slightly firmer with that additional tablespoon, but I didn't mind them at all the way they turned out. While the title of this recipe is "breakfast bar" I really found them to be more of a homemade granola bar. But in the end it doesn't really matter what they are called. I just know I enjoyed them!

 
 

Date and Almond Breakfast Bars
Adapted from Donuts, Dresses and Dirt
Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup (90-100 grams) chopped dates
  • 1 1/4 cup (110 grams) old fashioned oats
  • 3 tablespoons (22 grams) whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup (20 grams) wheat germ
  • 1/3 cup (35 grams) chopped almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup (65 grams) almond butter
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (63 grams) honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions
Preheat oven to 350. Line a 8x8 inch pan with parchment paper and spray with oil. Set aside. 

Combine the dates, oats, flour, wheat germ, almonds, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond butter, olive oil, honey, and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry mixture, and stir together until evenly combined. Spread the batter into the prepared pan, pressing the mixture firmly onto the bottom, edges and corners.

Bake the bars for 30-35 minutes, until they are golden brown all over. Cool the bars completely in the pan on a cooling rack. When mostly cool, transfer to the fridge and let them chill for a few hours. This will make it easier to cut into neat bars.  Remove from fridge and cut into bars.

Chewy Peanut Butter Oat Bars

Looking for a sweet and chewy, snack bar that is filling, substantial, and keeps for a long time? I have just the recipe for you! Personally, I love having healthier snacks on hand that I can grab in the morning to keep with me while I'm at the hospital in case I get hungry throughout the day. These bars fit the bill. What's also great about them is the ingredient list is short and simple. There are so many energy and health bar recipes out there with five million ingredients in them, half of which I don't have. For this recipe all you need is dried fruit (dates or prunes), a nut butter and oats. A pinch of salt and some water round them out nicely. So easy to throw together and so tasty to eat!

You will need a fairly powerful food processor to blend all of the ingredients together until they form a nice sticky paste. Then into a pan and finally into the oven to set up just a bit. I cut my bars into small bites that were the perfect snack to nibble on in the middle of the afternoon when dinner still seemed very far away. I kept them in the fridge, but I would think they would last out on the counter for quite a while as well, none of the ingredients in it are very perishable. And if you're feeling indulgent, I think a drizzle of chocolate overtop would be the perfect way to really make this recipe extra special. 

Chewy Peanut Butter Oat Bars
Adapted from Sugarcrafter
Ingredients

  • 2 cups (12 ounces) prunes (or a combo of prunes and dates)
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup (128 ounces) peanut butter
  • 2 cups (160 grams) old fashioned oats
  • pinch salt

Directions
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with parchment paper, and set aside. In a large food processor, pulse the prunes until roughly chopped. Add the water and peanut butter, and blend until well pureed. The mixture will be very sticky. Add the oats to the food processor, and pulse until well combined with the prune and date mixture. 

Spread the mixture in an even layer in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars. 

Calorie count: cut into 25 bars, 90 calories per bar