Happy Saturday evening! After last night’s evening out, I’m enjoying a quiet evening at home! I had fun at my friend’s birthday soiree, and, I have to say that the club offered some of the best people watching opportunities I’ve had in a long time. I’m certainly not the fashion police, but, let me just tell you that there were some sights to behold at the K Street Lounge. Wow! Men, is a BMW belt buckle really necessary? It may not send the message you’re hoping to send.
Since I’m staying in tonight, I decided it was time to come up with my entry for this week’s BSI contest. BSI: Strawberry is being hosted by Laura at Hey What’s For Dinner Mom? I don’t know how I will fare in this week’s contest, but I think I came up with a winner nonetheless. I had several things in mind. First, I needed to use strawberries. That’s not a problem! I love them. Second, I’ve seen some amazing looking homemade almond butters on several websites lately, and I thought it might be fun to find a way to incorporate that as well. While catching up on some blogs this morning, I ran across a recipe for a tahini breakfast bar on Limes and Lycopene. I used the basic idea, but not the same ingredients. Here’s my recipe!
Very Strawberry Almond Butter Snack Bars
1/2 cup chopped dried dates
1/2 cup water
The Honey Berry Almond Butter
1/2 cup raw almonds, toasted
2 Tbsp. Honey
The Dry Team
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup teff flour (or whole wheat flour)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds (not in the shell)
1/2 cup dried fruit (I used a berry mix that had blueberries, cherries, cranberries and strawberries)
1 ounce dried strawberries
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9×9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Place the dates and water in a small pan. Bring to a low simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.
Strawberry Honey Almond Butter
Place toasted almonds in a food processor, and process until they become smooth and creamy. It only took about 3 minutes for this small amount in my machine, but it may take longer depending on your equipment. Be patient! It will eventually turn into a butter. After the almonds have become smooth and creamy, blend in the strawberries and honey. Add the cooled date goo and blend well.
The Final Mix
Combine the dry items in a medium sized bowl. Add the almond mixture and stir well making sure all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Press into the 9×9 inch baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Allow the bars to cool in the pan.
This makes 12 unofficial 3 point bars.
The date goo isn’t pretty, but it makes good glue!
The almond butter looked so good with the honey and strawberries that it was hard not to abandon the project and go in search of a loaf of bread. Seriously. I’m going to have to mix up a batch of this to eat on its own. Who needs jam when you can blend the berries right in with the nut butter?
Here’s what it looks like when date goo marries honey berry almond butter:
Of course, I had to lick the food processor bowl, and I can attest that this would have been awesome on some bread too. Even so, I charged onward and mixed up my dry ingredients.
I often have dried strawberries on my morning cereal, and when I was thinking of a way to get more berries into this bar, the dried version seemed like the perfect choice. Here’s the kind I used:
I love when berries smile! These really bumped up the berry in the bars, and gave them a nice splash of color too! After the dry ingredients were combined well, I added the almond butter goo mixture and stirred it all up.
I pressed it in the pan and then popped it in the oven.
The bar you saw in the picture at the top of the recipe was consumed warm. After being taunted by the gorgeous ingredients, I was too impatient to let it cool! I can say that is was moist and chewy in its warm state, and I’m sure it would have come out of the pan more nicely if not for the steam coming out of it. Hee hee. I’ll probably check out a cool bar after I finish tonight’s post. I must! It’s for science or… something. Anyway, I can say that the strawberry flavor really comes on strong with the mixture of fresh and dried berries. The pumpkin seeds add a nice pop of color and a pleasing little crunch. The nutty goo holds everything together nicely and is sweet, but not toooo sweet. I’m really happy with the way these turned out! I have a feeling that this is another of those basic recipes that I will be making with a number of variations in the days to come.
I had a nice long workout this morning, and then took a stroll to Whole Foods to pick up a few little items. I used one of the coupons for free Oikos Greek yogurt that I received from the nice folks at Stonyfield Farm. I’m planning to try it tomorrow, and I’ll let you know how it goes. I also picked up a jalapeno pepper. I’m pondering this week’s big batch recipe, and I think that the jalapeno is going to play a role. We’ll see. Tomorrow should be a day full of yumminess! Right now, I hear a cool bar calling my name, and I need to go and silence it with my teeth!!
I don’t usually make my own bars (although… after this batch…I may start…), but I do enjoy a number of different types that I pick up at the store. What’s your fave?
Enjoy the rest of the weekend!!