It’s Friday, and you know what that means! Time for a facelift!
I knew after I made the Nutty Espresso Bars that I could do better with the photos of these Sweet & Spicy Date Bars. I also tweaked the recipe a bit and updated it, for the right ratio of date to nut. The secret here is the cayenne pepper. You don’t expect it, and it sneaks up on the back end for just a little bit of spice. I find it to be a refreshing change from all the dessert flavored Lara Bars – key lime pie, cherry pie, cashew cookie, blueberry muffin. I’ve been thinking about a spicy bacon-cranberry date bar as my next one. Doesn’t that sound amazeballs?
So, in true Facelift Friday fashion, here we have the original post photos:
Yikes. Way too close. And they just look lumpy and mushy!
That’s so cute that I put the knife in there for an accessory, and then shot the entire thing in focus with my phone in artificial lighting. But no. Just no.
Now here’s today’s Facelift:
I’d say those look better, wouldn’t you? They taste better too.
ProTip: Don’t forget to store them with parchment paper in between the bars, otherwise they’ll stick together!
~~~Original Post: ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Eating paleo is hard work. There’s so much shopping. And prepping. And cleaning. And dishes. Once you figure out a routine, it definitely gets easier, but it’s still always going to be harder than eating like lazy, unhealthy people.
As we are still in the house reconstruction phase from the fire, I am constantly on the go, being pulled in 12 different directions any any one time. Fixture store needs me to call with a credit card. Contractor needs me to go look at the shitty tile job that was completed but no one followed instructions on. (Do I really need to come look at this? How ’bout you just fix it? Or better yet, do it right the first time. Too much to ask? Probably.) Have I mentioned that our general contractor infuriates me? If not, this is me, mentioning it. He drives me up the wall. I’m a thousand times more organized than he is, and he’s getting paid large sums of money to be fairly useless. I’m clearly in the wrong line of work.
Anyway, the point is, I need quick and easy snacks! I’m a big fan of Lara Bars. They’re found in the protein bar section, but they are free of all the crap normally found in protein bars and with the exception of the ones that include peanuts/peanut butter or chocolate chips, they are all paleo. Now, based on the title of this post, I’m sure you’re waiting for me to tell you why I felt compelled to make my own.
While the store-bought ones are great (and truly, I keep one in my purse at all times in case Hangry rears his ugly head), I have two issues with them. First, they’re expensive. And they keep getting more expensive. When I started on this paleo experiment about a year and a half ago, they were $1.19. Now, they’re $1.49! Second, they’re all basically dessert flavors. Since the main ingredient is dates, they’re inevitably always going to be sweet. But they’re all “Carrot Cake,” “Pecan Pie,” and so on. I’ve been making my own for some time now, and I’ve been experimenting with adding some unique flavors. I tested these out today, and I’m going to go ahead and put them in the ‘win’ category. You can go ahead and put them in your face.
- 1 1/3 cup medjool dates, pitted
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 Tablespoon toasted flax seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2-3 pinches cayenne pepper
Combine the pitted dates, cashews, and walnuts in a food processor and pulse until all three are chopped into small pieces and combined. Be careful not to over-process or the mixture will become too sticky!
Add the toasted flax seeds, salt, cinnamon, and 2 pinches of the cayenne pepper and pulse until incorporated.
Grab a pinch of the mixture and taste it. The cayenne pepper sneaks up on you, so give it a second and see if you taste it. If not, add a bit more, a pinch at a time, tasting between each one. You want to get to the place where the first flavor you taste is the sweet of the dates, then the aftertaste with the cayenne comes second.
Once you've got the spices right, place a piece of parchment paper in the bottom of an 8x8 glass pan. Dump the mixture onto the parchment paper.
With another piece of parchment paper, press the mixture into the pan and smooth it across the top. Don't be afraid to put a little pressure on it---you'll need to push down a bit in order to get the ingredients to stick together.
Remove the bars from the pan by lifting the bottom piece of parchment paper out onto the counter. Cut into bars or squares and store in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Note: To keep them from sticking together, place parchment paper between them when storing.