Friday, December 30, 2011

DATE-SWEETENED NO-BAKE COOKIES

Every time I come up with a recipe or see one I love, my first question these days is "Can my daughter eat it?". If not, the challenge [and fun] begins. One of my new found pet-peeves is eating something in front of her that she can't have. Of course, there will always be times this happens but I work really hard to ensure that 98% of the time we are enjoying the same foods [or at least a version of the same foods]. Sometimes this means separating a portion out prior to adding certain ingredients, sometimes it demands sacrificing certain foods, but most of the time all it requires is a bit of imagination and a small amount of ingredient know-how with the willingness to try foods a few times until they are just right.

Today I was itching for some no-bake cookies. Long ago I gave up the refined-sugar packed, instant oatmeal masquerade that lurks on the bakery shelves. Today I took a detour around all other sugars [sucanat, coconut palm, and raw cane sugars, honey, and maple syrup] and instead decided to work with dates, a naturally sweet fruit.

Dates are sweet and warming. They harmonize organs and have eliminating properties [a good aid in treating constipation]. If you have a small child with a sore throat, date syrup or paste can be used in place of honey. Of course, the dried dates most of us have access to have lost some of their nutrients but even so, dried dates still are an excellent source of B vitamins, copper, iron, potassium, and magnesium.

I also substituted carob for cocoa powder as I am more interested in going to sleep than chasing a caffeine-laced toddler around in the wee-hours of the morning. Carob is also naturally high in iron, a nutrient that many children are deficient in.

Please understand that if you are looking for the dry, crumbly, super sweet version - this is not the recipe for you. Instead, these have a deep richness and subtle sweet that will easily satisfy those sugar cravings without the sharp blood sugar spike and inevitable energy crash.

But the best part? My daughter gets to enjoy the spoon.


[THE RECIPE]

1 cup of dates, firmly packed
enough boiling water to fill to 1 1/2 cups

Place dates in a 2 cup glass measuring jar. Cover with boiling water, enough to fill to 1 1/2 c. line. Let stand for 10 minutes.

4 1/2 c. of old-fashion oats [not instant]
1/2 c. regular coconut milk
1/2 c. date soaking water

Once the dates have soaked for 10 minutes, combine oats, 1/2 c. of the date soaking water, and 1/2 c. of coconut milk in a glass mixing bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor combine:

3/4 c. sunflower seed butter [or nut / seed butter of choice, although I would advise not using peanut butter]
1/4 c. coconut oil
the dates and remaining soaking water
1 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice
1/3 c. carob powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract or 1/2 scraped vanilla bean

Blend until very smooth. Pour into a medium size stainless steel saucepan and warm over low heat. Once the mixture is just warm, add in oatmeal mixture. Stir until all of the oats are incorporated. Let the mixture sit in the pot for about 10 minutes to allow the oatmeal to soften a bit more and soak up the carob sauce.

Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Scoop out cookie batter and form into balls on the cookie sheet.

Place in the freezer for 20 - 30 minutes [more if necessary] until firm. Store in the freezer or refrigerator.

*To make these raw, soak the dates and oats over night and eliminate the cooking step.

This makes appx. 20 medium sized cookies. 






4 comments:

Heidi said...

These look fantastic! I've been meaning to try making a healthier no-bake cookie recipe, now I'm just curious to try yours out! I clicked over from tastespotting and I'm glad to have found you. I can't wait to look through some of your other recipes :D

MyFudo™ said...

Thanks for this recipe! My toddler will enjoy eating from the spatula too...Happy new Year!

TINA VANDERKLOK, MS, Holistic Nutrition, LEED-AP said...

I hope you both enjoy them! Happy New Year!

CS said...

We've been using date syrup for years to replace sugar in our no-bakes. Love this recipe, never thought about using actual dates!