A simple and healthy treat that can be enjoyed any time of the year. Simply add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. Feel free to play around with the ingredients, it also tastes great with walnuts in place of hemp hearts.
Keyword: date and nut bars, healthy date bars, raw bars recipe dates
Soak your dates in hot water for at least an hour. This helps soften them for the blending process.
Drain the dates, reserving the water. Add all of the ingredients except for the coconut into a good quality food processor. Add 1/4 cup of the date soaking water during the processing to help the mixture blend. Process until smooth.
Line a 6 x 6" pan with baking paper and press mixture down firmly into it, using your fingers to make sure it is even. Sprinkle with shredded coconut if using, pressing it into mixture slightly. Let the date bars set in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up. Cut into 9 even squares before serving.
Making These Date Bars Only 4 Ingredients
The coconut topping and added salt are completely optional and these date bars taste great without them. You can also omit the cacao nibs or hemp hearts (not both).
Alternatives to Hemp Hearts
Hemp hearts are smooth, and break down nicely once processed - sunflower seeds work as an alternative both for their smooth texture and blood sugar stabilization.
Alternatives to Cacao Nibs
To keep the crunch factor without cacao nibs, try adding some whole nuts such as almonds, walnuts or pecans, halfway through the processing - once the dates have already been mostly broken down.
You can use this recipe as a base and try these different flavour combinations
Chocolate Orange Date Bar: Add 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice in place of the water and the zest of one orange (organic is best)
Mint Chocolate Date Bar: Add 10 drops of peppermint flavour to the ingredients before blending
Lavender Chocolate Date Bar: Add 2 tablespoons of fresh lavender to the ingredients before blending
Rosemary Date Bar: I love this combination of rosemary and chocolate, with a pinch of salt. Add 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary to the ingredients before blending.
Purchasing Fair Trade Cacao
Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance both provide training programs for farmers which have led to higher yields, better quality cocoa, and subsequently more income to farmers.