Dates are already a delicious and nourishing food. The Islamic scholar Ibn al-Qayyim classed dried dates as a fruit, food, medicine, drink.
This recipe is one way to enjoy dried dates raw, maintaining their healthful properties. It is a natural alternative to processed chocolate or other refined sugar-filled treats.
Dates are one of the best natural sources of sugar available, replenishing energy and revitalizing the body naturally. They are also packed with iron, potassium, vitamin B-complex and minerals such as calcium and magnesium, and provide a good source of dietary fiber which promotes digestive health by cleaning out the gut, creating bulk and working as a laxative.
These delicious bites also contain a variety of nuts including coconut and almonds, which provide an excellent source of proteins and essential oils in abundance, as well as selenium and Vitamin E.
The raw cacao powder is optional if you can get hold of some, but it adds a delicious chocolaty flavor to the snacks and unlike processed chocolate, cacao is a natural and raw product, full of antioxidants.
I prefer just dates and nuts in my bites, but you can experiment with the flavors to suit you personal tastes by adding ingredients like cinnamon, orange rind or fresh mint.
Not only are these snacks super easy to make, they are also cheaper than similar raw organic bars available to buy.
- 2 cup dried dates, pitted
- 1 cup almonds and cashew nuts (or other nuts of your choice, e.g. walnuts, pecans, pistachios)
- 1 cup shredded (desiccated) coconut
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Additional extras: ground cinnamon, freshly grated orange rind, fresh mint leaves
- If the dates are very hard, add 1-2 tbsp boiling water to them, cover and let them stand for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the nuts to a food processor and pulse until they are chopped but not too finely. Add the coconut, cacao powder, vanilla and other optional ingredients, and pulse until well mixed.
- Lastly, add the dates, a few at a time, pulsing until well mixed. This may take a while-occasionally stop and scrape sides of processor to push the mixture toward the blades.
- When the mixture has come together to form a firm dough, remove it from food processor and place it onto a clean piece of plastic wrap.
- Form the mixture into a firm log, compressing it to make a very dense log about 2 inches wide.
- Wrap with the plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least two hours, or overnight to firm it up, before slicing it into ½ inch slices.
- These bites will keep for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Enjoy!