Sunday, 29 January 2012
Despite my love of food, I’m not actually that good at feeding myself. Feeding others is no problem – easy peasy – but taking care of number one isn’t high on my list of priorities. I’m a rather busy lady but it’s taken me a while to grasp that I need to replace the calories that I’m working out of my system. It’s starting to dawn on me (after several oh-my-gosh-i-feel-faint moments – whoops!) that I maybe need to start eating a little more between my bike rides, dance classes, acrobatic episodes and general dogs bodying.
Now, if this wasn’t enough to undertake, I want to eat right too. Empty calories aren’t my thing – they need to be functional, nutritious and oh so delicious. I discovered Nakd Cashew Cookie bars a little while ago and loved them so much that I was determined to try and make my own. Considering that the lovely people at Nakd cram a magical mix of dates and nuts into their soft chewy bars, I figured that it wouldn’t be too difficult to create my own version in the kitchen.
I did a little research and found that America has their own equivalent – Lara bars – which are pretty similar. The more I read, the more I thought “it doesn’t need to be this difficult! It’s just nuts and fruit…” so I threw caution to the wind. I ground up a load of cashews, snipped up several handfuls of sticky dates and got my hands rather dirty smooshing it all together. One of the great winners about these bars is that they are 100% bake free. No cooking required!
They can be a little time consuming to make but they are well worth it. The finished bars are just as yielding and sweet as the originals. I wrapped mine individually in cling-film and now keep one in my rucksac for a post-workout shot of protein. Keep them in the fridge and pop one in your bag or lunchbox for a healthy snack. One of your five a day!
Cashew Cookie bars
Makes 12 bars
200g pitted unsweetened dates
200g unsalted cashews
- Line a loaf tin with Teflon non-stick baking sheet, greaseproof paper or cling film before you start (and you get super sticky fingers).
- Grind the cashews in a food processor or blender until fine. You want them to be the consistency of ground almonds or course sand though a few chunks or whole nuts in the mix are fine by me. If you don’t have a food processor, you could seal the nuts in a plastic bag, wrap in a few tea towels and then bash with a rolling pin. Free stress relief!
- Snip up the dates with scissors so that they are in very small pieces (as fine as you have the patience for – it will pay off later!). You could also chop them in the food processor if you have one that is man enough for the job.
- Combine both in a bowl and get your hands in to work the mixture. Scrunch it up in your hands, balling it together and then breaking it apart again to form a firm but slightly sticky mixture. This took me about five minutes but it depends how strong you’re feeling.
- Tip the mixture into your prepared tin and level with a spoon.
- Compress the mixture using the back of a spoon and then the bottom of a tumbler or end of a rolling pin. Keep pressing it down until it’s very solid and holds together.
- Remove the block from the tin (pull gently on the lining to help ease it out) then cut into bar-sized portions.