Thursday, August 21, 2014

Almond-Date Squares!

So remember I mentioned in this blog post that my super cute friends got me a food processor for my birthday? I had used it to make hmoz so far and my sweet-cravings finally inspired me to make a dessert with it. I wanted something that could be a delicious power-snack but that could also act as a filling quick breakfast.

I remembered the crust recipe for this delicious raw dessert, and decided to do something similar. I couldn't find the raw cacao I brought with me (I really have no idea where I could have put it) so I decided to make an exception and un-raw it up by including some dark chocolate. The dates combined with the bitter chocolate would satisfy anyone's sweet tooth!

What you need:
-Dates (the softer/fresher the better)
-Flax seed powder
-Sesame seeds
-Dark chocolate
-Coconut flakes (optional)
-Cinnamon powder (optional)

Only the dates were a little hard to find - there are options of course, but I've been fortunate enough to have tasted good dates, so dried up little raisin-wannabes don't really cut it. Usually I can find really good ones from Iran but this time I made a semi-compromise and bought a small box of them at a supermarket since the market didn't have any, and there were enough 'okay' ones to make it work.

-First grind the flax seed powder. For more information on the wonderful little powerhouse that is the all-mighty flax seed, check out this post. I also mention there why grinding them is important.
-Put the almonds in the food processor and process until they become a coarse powder.
-Remove the seeds from the dates and add as many as it takes to get a slightly sticky consistency going. The fresher the dates, the less you will need.
-Add sesame seeds, salt, coconut flakes, cinnamon powder, flax seed powder and process so it is all mixed together well. Add some of the dark chocolate and process until it is all blended in together.
Looking at the photos, it was (apparently) no-pants Wednesday at our house so only hand pictures for this post!
-Place mixture in a lasagna-esque glass container or tupperware and flatten it out. Since it is not a crust this time I kept it relatively thick.
-Sprinkle on a little more sesame seeds for decoration
-Because of the flax seed powder, best to keep it in the freezer.

What I love about this recipe is that any sugar the dates have is balanced out nicely not only from the fibre in the dates themselves, but also as a result of the the high-fibre (solube, too!) flax seed powder. Fibre helps release sugar gradually so our blood sugar levels don't spike. Since everything that goes up must come down, this spike causes fatigue, headaches, moodiness, irritability, grogginess, and much more. The mix of the nuts and seeds boosts up the protein content of this dessert as well. The sesame seeds are a great source of calcium, as long as you chew them thoroughly!
You can add different nuts or seeds too of course - sunflower seeds or walnuts would go in nicely!  I want to also try this recipe with some blackberries or raspberries in the mix - either to replace the chocolate or go 50/50.

So there you have it. I was very happy with the result and got the room mate stamp of approval. Vegan and almost raw, here is a close-up of my almond-date squares in all of their glory:
All photos by Allegra Garabedian <3

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