Have you ever tried a no-added sugar challenge? A few months back, we decided to do one for 30-days (and by “we” I mean Bry got roped into doing this with me). One thing you’ll notice as the blog continues, is I’m really trying to focus on making more foods from scratch, and this sugar-challenge was our first step. While some diet challenges eliminate sugar all-together, I believe in supporting a balanced diet, which includes natural sources of sugar – more on this in a later post – so the only sources of sugar we ate were fruits, starchy vegetables and unsweetened Greek yogurt. While it wasn’t as easy as I’d thought it would be – it seems like added sugar is in everything – these date bites got us through it and have become a staple in our diets.
Ever since our 30-day challenge, I’ve been playing around with the base recipe to get it just right as well as coming up with new flavor combinations: Brownie Batter, Snickerdoodle, and Matcha Green Tea (this last one has been my jam recently, especially with St. Patrick’s Day this week).
Unless you’re one of those people who can go hours upon hours without getting hungry, chances are you reach for a snack at some point during the day. Whether it’s grabbing something quick before heading out the door in the morning, fueling up before a workout, or trying to keep yourself from getting too hangry at the 3-6pm stretch before dinner time, most of us need more than just 3 meals a day and these bites are a perfect solution. Need convincing? Here are 4 reasons to get your food processor out and start snacking:
Okay, now that you’re convinced, on to the recipe! The foundation of these bites is very simple: cashews + dates. I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure out these ingredients, but I did include approximate amounts in case you only have access to measuring cups.
Start by measuring out 81 grams of whole, pitted dates (about 1 packed cup or 12-13 large dates). If your dates have pits it’s very important to remove them before throwing in the food processor (and do not put down the garbage disposal . . . I’ve learn from my mistakes).
Place dates in bowl of hot water and let soak for 10 minutes. As stated above, if you are short on time you can skip this step and add an extra 1-2 tablespoons of warm water when pulsing.
While dates soak, measure out 140 grams of cashew pieces (about 1 cup) and place in food processor. Pulse until about pebbles-sized (you don’t want it to look like powder).
Add in dates and any extra ingredients you would like (3 mix-in ideas below). Pulse until well-combined and mixture feels paste-like. If the mix is not holding together well, add in 1 tsp of water at a time and pulse until desired consistency is achieved (the picture below is for the Matcha Green Tea Bites)
Roll mixture into balls and place on a foil-lined baking sheet a few inches apart.
Place baking sheet in freezer and let set for 15 minutes. I recommend storing date bites in a closed container in the freezer that way you can easily grab one to go in the morning and by the afternoon its soft, but not falling apart. These keep for at least 2 months in the freezer (we’ve always eaten them within two months, so they may even keep for longer).
While the base recipe is good, I have 3 flavor combinations that are even better: Brownie Batter, Snickerdoodle, and Matcha Green Tea. Check out the recipes below! But before you do, here’s a toast to the infinite flavor combinations just waiting to be eaten!
Quick note on dates: while some people avoid dates due to their high natural sugar content, current research has found that dates actually have a low glycemic index. Translation: while there is natural sugar in dates, they also are a good source of fiber, which helps to slow the digestion and absorption of sugar into the blood stream and prevents the spike in blood sugar that we often associate with high sugar foods. Still, if you are trying to watch your blood sugar for medical reasons, keep to just 1-2 bites per snack.
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