I talk to people all the time who “can’t bake” (I’m not judging them, it’s self-proclaimed). This is all well and good but everyone needs a sweet snickety-snack now and then and if you’re not baking them yourself, you’re buying them.
They make pretty amazing snacks these days, full of the pronounceable ingredients we want to feed our families. That being said, for the environment’s sake (packaging) and your wallet, getting in your kitchen and doing the work is always worth it. You do need a food processor, so put that on your Christmas list because it’s quite the kitchen work-horse, especially for the non-bakers.
I’ve found that with a basis of nuts, oats and dates, the varieties are endless. These apricot almond bars were pretty recent (and they vanished) as well as these cocoa almond variety – clearly I’m having fun in the “no-bake” department. These treats stay in the fridge (yay for no preservatives) and I swear to you, they’re sweet enough for a post-meal treat on the days when you’re really trying to “be good”.
This is probably my family’s most requested recipe. My kids call them “date bars” and sometimes just “bars”, and they ask for them with their breakfast and for snacks throughout the day. You can follow the recipe below though honestly, I don’t measure anymore. I eyeball it all and it works every time. Sometimes it’s sweeter with more dates, sometimes the plastic part of the cinnamon container gets loose and the end result are bars with a kick of cinnamon spice – still good every time.
Healthy, No-Bake Pecan Pie Bars
Makes an 8×8 pan
3 c. unsalted pecans, toasted
1 1/2 c. pitted dates
1/4 c. oats
2 tbsp. molasses
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1. Toast nuts in a dry skillet over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and golden brown. Alternately, place nuts on baking sheet into cool oven. Set temperature to 350 degrees and when oven reaches temperature, remove. Nuts should be fragrant.
2. Transfer nuts to food processor and add dates and oats. Pulse about ten times and add remaining ingredients. Process until finely ground a mixture is forming a sticky, cohesive mass.
4. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish. Refrigerate until set and cut into bars. Store in the fridge or freezer in an airtight container.