It is the end of September and many Angelinos are well into a new semester of school or semester of life for that matter. Despite the sweltering heat throughout the city, summer is over and people are back in the grind. Business of all sorts is increasing for many. School and work schedules of the season are filling up. People are gradually waking from summer siestas as they enter a busier time of year and transition from basquing to buzzing. More buzzing may require a bit of fuel as we go about our business. Running from class to class, meeting to meeting- whatever the case, Starbucks lines are probably growing as people seek a pick me up. There are indeed better options.
While an occasional corporate coffee and scone won’t kill anyone, their speed and convenience seem to seduce Americans as schedules become busier and stress rises. Soon it’s Starbucks twice everyday and two clone-like scones to help Americans keep their buzz and get over that hump of work. It becomes harder and harder to recall that less frantic summer state and by the time the holidays are here you are trying to find balance on the Starbucks menu, but you can’t find it hot or iced. So, it will have to be Venti Mocha and a cinnamon crumb cake. Well, it doesn’t really have to be.
Indeed, an increased workload requires pick-me-ups throughout the day- but, do it different. Screw the identical clone-like scones and make something that is delicious and full of life. Come on, step outside the box, do something different. Besides, being "off-beat," is super trendy right now. Try a simple four ingredient Cherry almond and cocao nib date bar to enjoy with your French press, outside in the fresh air as you take a breather. Take your shoes off and maybe invite some friends. Turn on your choice of music while you enjoy a delightful and nutritious break in your day. These sweet and chewy date bars, marry tart dark sweet cherries with, creamy, nutty almonds and notes of chocolate in the crunch and deep linger of cacao nibs in each layered bite.
Not only are these sweet snacks a joy to eat, but they are good for you. Medjool dates provide a natural source of unrefined sugar, iron, fiber, vitamin B6 and niacin. The cacao nibs give your body and brain a boost with antioxidants, flavonoids, catechins and iron. Each bite is filled with enzymes and phytochemicals that you wont find in cooked food because these babies are more raw than an American Apparel ad (and so much better.) So, while the fact that you made them with your own two hands and skipped the Starbucks line is enough to make these treats awesome, they also feed your body the sustanance necessary to keep you strong and well through the grind and beyond.
1/3 cup dates
1/3 cup dried dark sweet cherries
1/4 cup raw almonds
1/4 cup raw cacao nibs
A pinch of salt
Method of Preparation
Set out two pieces of plastic wrap for the final step of shaping and packaging the bars.
Place the dates and dried cherries in a food processor. Pulse until the dried fruit combines and forms a paste. Transfer this mixture to a medium bowl. No need to clean the processor.
Now add the Almonds to the processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the nibs and pulse one or two times until nibs are chopped finely but not dust-like. Empty the finely chopped nuts to the bowl with the fruit paste. Use your hands to knead the nuts and fruit paste together until well combined.
Place the mixture in the middle of one of the sheets of plastic and cover with the other sheet. Use your hands to press the mixture down just enough so that it is possible to roll it flat. Use a rolling pin or a wine bottle to roll the mixture to desired thickness. When the ideal thickness is reached use your hands, and or the back of a knife to form nice, even flat edges of the bar. Cut the bar into desired serving sizes and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator for the longest shelf life.