Chocolate Date Nut Bars

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Chocolate Date Nut Bars by twocarolines.com

These are the best breakfast treat/ energy bar/ snack your kids will actually eat / straight up chocolate dessert EVER!  You don’t officially bake them, however you do need to toast the oats and nuts, so there’s an oven involved, but they are conspicuously missing flour and sugar, which is something you’ll notice happens almost never times in my posts, and probably don’t get used to it.  But seriously, I love these too much not to share.   After I cut them into the above squares I cut many of those in half so I can have some smaller portions for when a little afternoon pick-me-up is needed, because an entire square is quite filling.  I especially love sharing these with Mom’s of new babies because I haven’t met a better nursing snack.  And who doesn’t love a treat of the chocolate variety that is still giving you fruity fiber from dates, whole grain oats, plus the satisfying protein of nuts?  I invite you to get creative with this recipe, my guess is they would taste great replacing pecans with cashews or even pistachios.

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 (heaping) cup pecans
1 cup slivered almonds (I usually use sliced which work great)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pitted dates chopped in half
1 1/3 cup dark chopped chocolate (chocolate chips work, but I love using decadent rich chocolate like this Scharffen Berger chocolate that has incredible flavor)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 300 and line 2 rimmed cookie sheets with parchment paper or foil.  Toast pecans on one and oats on the other rotating them a time or two.  I do this for about 10 minutes on the oats and 7 or so with the nuts because you only want them fragrant, not burnt.  The original recipe says to toast the almonds as well, but mine always burn so if I do put almonds in it’s only for a few minutes – the bars are fantastic even if your almonds aren’t toasted.
  2. Put the oats and the nuts into a large capacity food processor (save parchment). Let cool about 20 minutes then add the dates and salt and mix until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Next add the chopped chocolate and vanilla and mix until all combined.  You may need to take a spatula and mix some of the dry into the chocolate here and there, but usually it all just comes together after a few long sessions in the food processor.
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    wrapped date nut bars by twocarolines.com

    Use the parchment from toasting nuts to line an 8×8 both ways so you can lift the ends up to easily deliver your bars.  If you don’t have parchment around it’s not that big a deal, just spray your 8×8 and they should come out pretty well.  Push your mixture into the pan pressing the top to make it all flat and uniform then put in the fridge for a good hour or so.  Once they are cold they are easy to cut into bars and I then wrap the bars individually with plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge until I need a perfect snack.  

 

Blueberry Lattice Pie

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If you want an easy and delicious pie recipe, this one’s for you! It is so easy to put together and has a big payoff in flavor and texture. It tastes like summer, sunshine and joy. Also, I think it probably has three to four of your daily servings of fruit—and this pie is so good—you could eat it all in one sitting. Now that I call a win-win.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 5 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
  • 1 tablespoon butter, diced
  • Turbinado sugar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Mix sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon, and sprinkle over blueberries. Mix well. Line pie dish with one pie crust. Pour berry mixture into the crust, and dot with butter. Cut remaining pastry into 1/2-3/4 inch wide strips, and make lattice top. Crimp and flute edges. Sprinkle turbinado sugar on the top (A tip from my pie expert mama is to spritz the top of the crust with water to make the sugar stick more easily. Bake pie on lower shelf of oven for about 40-50 minutes, or until crust is golden brown. (If the crust edges start to get too brown after 30 minutes, cover with foil.)

-CK 1.0