Monday, August 24, 2009

Cashew Date Bars


I believe I have blithered about my low blood sugar in this space before. It is a giant pain in the ass, really. If I don't eat every two hours or so I get dizzy, cranky, tired, and my vision starts to blur. And if I eat refined sugar it's even worse. This didn't get officially diagnosed until one day in 2002 when I badgered a doctor at the college health centre to test me because I was hungry, moody, and dizzy all the time. I'm a bit of a hypochondriac, but sometimes there is actually something wrong with me. Not often, but sometimes.

Anyway, because of the low blood sugar I carry snacks and food with me everywhere I go. Just last week the Man of Science watched me pack my lunch bag for the day and said, "Every time you leave the house, it's like you're embarking on a journey to another planet." Nope, just to Kanata, probably. But whether I am going to Kanata or Uranus (snort!) I usually have one of those "Cashew Cookie" flavoured Larabars with me.

Have you eaten one of these before? They are like magic for the blood sugar. My mom once told me that if she feels wonky she just eats a banana and it makes her feel fine again. Those Larabars are like that for me. Unfortunately, they are far more expensive than bananas. However, since there are only a few ingredients in said bars I decided to harness my DIY spirit and make some in my own kitchen.

I sort of suspected that it would be a disaster because my vision of the whole process seemed so straightforward. Things are often more complicated than I think they will be. Luckily, these actually were really easy to make. Who knew?


Cashew Date Bars

2/3 cup mashed dates
1 cup raw cashew pieces
1 tsp cinnamon

(A food processor is very handy for mashing/chopping up the cashews and the dates. Process them separately or you'll end up with an over-processed gloppy mess.)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl using your hands until they turn into a big, slightly sticky blob.

Line a loaf pan with tinfoil and mash the mixture down flat into the bottom of the pan until it is spread evenly. It will probably be just under an inch thick.

making date bars

Fold the tinfoil over the top of the mixture and gently remove it from the pan.

Refrigerate for at least half an hour and then cut into bars of whatever size you like.

Makes about 6 conventionally sized bars.

Some Notes:

-These were Man of Science approved. "I'm still savouring the taste of that bar in my mouth!" he called to me, several minutes after having a sample of the first batch. "I just thought you'd like to know!"

-Hey, guess what? Top Chef in back on! I may have actually marked the date of the premiere on my calendar. Funny that the first person eliminated had cooked seitan for her challenge meal. She wasn't a vegan chef or anything, and even I was perplexed by her choice. Also, the dish didn't look that great on TV. Still, I'm sad to see delicious seitan getting a bad rap.

-Set your TIVOs (do we have TIVOs in Canada? Is TIVO even pluralized with an "s"?) because I'll be appearing once again on Roger's Daytime this Friday, August 28th. I'm excited, but haven't yet decided what to cook. I've had lots of helpful suggestions, but I'm still mulling it over.

Edited to add: For people without food processors (thanks, Sweetpea, for bringing this up) I'm fairly certain you can do this by hand, it will just take longer and be a bit more arduous! I would recommend chopping the dates up as small as possible and then mashing them with all your might. The nuts you can probably process in a blender, or you can put them in a ziplock bag and roll over them with a rolling pin or pound them with something heavy.

Or you could go hang out with a friend who has a food processor and make a big batch to share! ;)


p.s. Blogger spellcheck (which amuses me because it does not have the word "internet" in its dictionary) offered up the following suggestions for the word "seitan": Stan, Satan, Seton, sedan.


Heather Moore said...

Yup you can get TIVO in Canada. Most people use DVR or PVR tho. ;) Or some - like me - still use VCRs.

HayMarket8 said...

These looks really good. I am going to try my hand at something like this. I love to have foods like this to take wit me to work and whatnot. I looks great!

thinkoutsidethecage said...

ooh, i'm so excited you've decoded the budget busting larabars!!!!! i LOVE these! and yours looks exactly like it. i'm so impressed.

i tuned in to the last 25 minutes of top chef to see the presentation of the seitan and the elimination. did she use a store bought seitan rather than making it from scratch? i've found the store packaged stuff to be less than satisfying. bad decision, yes. i bet the poblano she made is steller with good seitan! boo for misrepresentating a fantastic food.

•¦Amy¦• said...

Those sound rather good. Although I haven't been to a doctor about it I suspect low bloodsugar. I'm always hungry and quite often dizzy and moody. I also loose my vision quite often...
So far keeping a ClifBar in my purse at all times has helped a bit, but this is probably even better!

sweetkaroline said...

those bars look awesome and easy to make. and only three ingredients! cool!

Ricki said...

Those bars look great! And congrats on being on daytime :)

meghan_d said...

i totally bought dates last week to try this! and then i too was worried that it would not be as straight-forward to reproduce lara bars. go j.

T said...

Those look to-die-for. I can't afford those bars either but I sometimes splurge for trips... maybe I'll just whip up some of these next time!

Anonymous said...

How long will these bars lastbot refrigerated and unrefrigerated? If I take them with me on trips will they last a week? Also wondering if I should make big batches or small batches based on how long they last.

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

I'm not sure how long they'd last because I always eat them really quickly! Though they are made of shelf-stable ingredients, so you're probably okay for a week.

Rachael said...

I made these this evening and the mixture didn't really have the stickiness I'm seeing in your photographs. Did you buy the pitted dates? Or did you de-pit them yourself?

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

I buy pitted dates, but I always buy dates that look kind of squishy and fresh. If they are dried out, then I soak them in some hot water for 15 minutes before using them. Sometimes you just have to experiment with what you have to get the right combination. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I've made these twice for our Mothers Group & the toddlers LOOOOVE them! I also added some pure vanilla essence. Thank you!