Phew. We have been busy. Good busy, getting ready for and celebrating the holiday of Passover with family and friends. My kids have stayed up way too late and we’re all just tired.
Tired + Passover’s dietary restrictions (no eating bread and many grains) = challenging. I was as prepared as ever as I’ve been following a mostly plant-based diet these last few weeks, skipping most gluten and wheat products. The hardest part seems to be figuring out easy-go to snacks for my family – like cereal, granola bars, popcorn and the raisin-bread and cream cheese sandwiches my kids had been inhaling.
Luckily, before I endeavored to make any of these things with Kosher for Passover ingredients (think matzoh meal and potato starch), I came across a recipe for homemade cookie dough LÄRABAR® from Oh She Glows. Dates, cashews, a bit of sea salt, vanilla and chocolate chips. Though I’m a sucker for anything “cookie dough,” my favorite LÄRABAR® has long been Cherry Pie so immediately substituted dried cherries for some of the dates.
We’ve gotten hooked on these dairy-free chocolate chips, but any mini chip will work.
The words “food processor” tend to scare me off from recipes, so I threw mine in the Vitamix. Just as speedy as my food processor, but easier to clean up.
I made small square bars in a pan with our first batch. Half to keep at home, half to work with my husband – both enjoyed very quickly. For the second batch, I just rolled out the “dough” like a pizza pie and left it in the refrigerator to chill.
My parents babysat that evening. I’m not sure they knew what they were eating, but alongside my kids, they tore off piece after piece until they had eaten nearly half. When I packed lunches later that night, I used our heart-shaped sandwich cutter on the remaining half, eating the trimmings as quickly as I cut.
Chewy, moist and sweet and still natural and simple. Perfect for this recovering gummy-anything (bear, worm, fish, spider, frog) addict, and my similarly sugar-addicted kids. I’m especially excited that Ryan gobbles up these bars, since he generally eschews all nuts. We ate tons of these before the holiday and I imagine we’ll snack on them all week.
A Date in A Bar
- 1.5 cups raw cashews
- 1/2 tsp fine grain sea salt
- 1 cup tightly packed dates (or 3/4 cup tightly packed dates and 1/4 cup dried cherries)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips
If your dates are stiff or dry, first soak in a bowl of water for 30-60 minutes, then drain well and pat dry.
Add cashews and salt to a food processor and process until the cashew crumbs are just smaller than peas, for about 3-4 seconds.
Add pitted dates and process until combined (about 15 seconds). The mixture should stick together easily when pinched between your fingers. If not, add a teaspoonful of water and process it again.
Add the vanilla and process until combined. Pulse in the chocolate or simply stir in by hand.
For bites, scoop mixture onto parchment paper. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and roll out with a rolling pin to desired thickness. Chill in refrigerator (1 hour) or freezer (15 minutes) before cutting with cookie cutters. Eat all the trimmings or roll into a ball and re-cut.
For bars, line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper. Scoop mixture into pan and smooth out until it’s level and packed densely. Refrigerate (1 hour) or freeze (15 minutes) and then slice into 10-12 bars.